With nine minutes remaining in Mt. Hebron's field hockey game with Marriotts Ridge on Thursday afternoon, a Vikings win appeared out of reach. The Mustangs led 1-0, controlled possession for much of the contest and stifled their opponent's attack.
But during a scrum near Marriotts Ridge's net, the ball bounced to sophomore Esha Shah on the right side. She wound up and drilled a grounder across the goal. And for the first time all game, senior goalkeeper Katie Garman couldn't corral it. Moments later, the two teams went to overtime.
In the first extra period, Shah again got her stick on the ball, this time receiving a pass from junior Ellie Miller. She finished the opportunity to seal Mt. Hebron's 2-1 victory and hand Marriotts Ridge just its fourth county loss in the past four seasons. It also marked the first time since 2013 that Mt. Hebron has beaten the Mustangs.
"They just kept fighting and fighting and fighting," Vikings coach Jeannette Ireland said. "They've had our number for many years now, and our seniors really, really wanted this game, and they just kept fighting for it. I'm really proud of them."
Senior Julia Cargiulo did her part in the victory, making seven saves. While Mt. Hebron (2-0, 4-2) looked to net the equalizer, she ensured it didn't fall further behind. Her stout defensive effort also kept the game tied for the end of regulation and in the beginning of the first overtime period.
However, it was one of the Vikings underclassmen who stole the spotlight.
Throughout the game, Shah ripped shots seemingly whenever she had open space. Some sailed over the top crossbar. Others went wide. Almost all of them soared through the air. And for much of regulation, she came up empty.
During that time, Marriotts Ridge (0-1, 2-3) built a one-goal advantage thanks to Elle Clevenger's strike less than 10 minutes into the game. Upon receiving a pass from junior Lauren McAuley, the sophomore beat Cargiulo. The Mustangs had the lead, which they brought into overtime and were determined to extend as the second period progressed.
Mt. Hebron didn't allow that to happen.
"We went down a goal early in the game, and we just didn't care," Shah said. "Whenever someone gave a little bit of less effort and got tired, someone picked up the slack."
Shah, like her coach, pointed to her and her teammates resolve despite facing an early deficit. They began creating more chances toward the end, and eventually, Shah converted on a grounder late in the contest.
"After that first goal, it was clear that we were in it," Shah added.
Having given up the lead, Marriotts Ridge pushed forward to take it back. It had opportunities but couldn't execute around the net, which kept Mt. Hebron in the game. A few minutes into overtime, Miller decided she would create a scoring opportunity of her own.
After Marriotts Ridge lost possession in the attacking third, Miller streaked down the right sideline, weaving through Mustangs defenders until she neared the endline. There, she crossed the ball to a crowded circle with the hope one of her teammates would knock it in.
Moments later, she and her teammate could celebrate.
"[Miller] pushed herself and ran through the right side, and I was just there to tap it in," Shah said. "I was just at the right place at the right time."