Manchester Valley coach Shelly Brezicki told her girls to remain settled as they carried a one-goal lead over Westminster with just over a minute left to play.
The Mavericks held on to win 11-10 at Ruby Field and snapped the Owls' five-game winning streak in the process. But it wasn't easy.
"I think we started off the game really, really strong and then we kind of got in a slump at that time and they got to come back," junior midfielder Tayler Warehime said. "I think just composure and smart plays are what we needed and after halftime I think we had this energy that came onto the field — we really wanted to win."
Warehime scored a game-high five goals for the Mavericks (4-1, 2-0 county) and added an assist. Junior attacker Lauren Cremen added three goals and two assists in the victory.
There were still 14 minutes left to play in the first half, but Westminster was looking at a 6-2 deficit after Warehime scored a goal off the free position, her second of the night. Owls junior attacker Madi Macera retaliated with a free position tally of her own to spark a 6-0 run for Westminster that carried into the second half.
Cremen found the back of the net with 15:38 to go but Westminster continued to fire back as the county foes traded a pair of goals. Warehime scored twice in the last five minutes to tie the teams 10-10 and senior midfielder Anna Geist sealed the deal from the free position with just over a minute remaining.
"I think we stepped out of our comfort zone in a way that we let Westminster, who's a great team with a lot of talent, put a little pressure on us that I'm sure at the beginning of the game we felt we could handle," Brezicki said. "We just were sort of caught off guard with their pressure but ultimately what hurt us in what they got a lead on was really us turning the ball over. We didn't take care of the ball like we needed to and that's to their credit of making us hurry our passes.
"To come back at the end there, I think we just needed them to relax, take a deep breath and start to focus on what they could control on the field and use their strengths."
Senior goalie Kate Brewster made seven saves for the Mavericks and Warehime called her a "ninja" against Westminster's offense. Senior defender Lauren Bredenburg agreed and the Mavericks saw results once they added pressure to their defensive end.
"Westminster did such a great job on offense, attacking it really hard," Bredenburg said. "It wasn't something we were used to so we had the mindset that we weren't going to let them in and we had to slide earlier and once we got the slides, we started to hold them out."
Macera and Caroline Frock each scored three goals, and sophomore goalie Sara Tyssowski made six saves for the Owls (5-1, 2-1).
"It comes down to intensity, playing with heart and skill and possession and draw controls," Owls coach Jackie Stevens said. "They're a great team so it all came down to who is going to win the draws when it came down to possession and just making smart decisions."