Hammond senior Becky Snyder's goal yesterday was a winner three times.
The goal, with 39 seconds remaining, upset sixth-ranked and visiting Centennial in a Howard County game, 1-0. It also was Snyder's first goal in three years of varsity play, and, thanks to a pre-game bet with a teammate, it netted her some mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Hammond back Christine Eline, standing outside the striking circle, started the deciding sequence by slapping the ball into scoring range. Centennial goalie Lisa Stichler blocked the attempt but left the net open. The ball rolled to Snyder -- who was positioned about 10 yards out -- and she placed it into the net's right corner.
"We've been telling her all season that she's very capable of getting her stick on the ball and shooting right inside the circle," Hammond coach Gay Petrlik said. "Now she gets her ice cream."
Centennial coach Gal Purcell, who watched from the field's opposite end, thought the goal should have been disallowed. "Neither of the officials were sure if the ball was inside the circle," she said. "It's a tough way to lose the county [title] as a result of that obvious missed call."
For most of the game, Centennial (9-2, 5-1) dominated on offense, edging Hammond (5-4, 2-3) in shots on goal (18-14) and penalty corners (12-4). Eagles forwards Chantal Loomis, Monica Torrado, Caroline Kendrick and Amber Saunders, with 18 goals among them, jammed the striking circle countless times.
Nevertheless, clutch saves by Hammond goalie Jill Farrow (11) and tight marking by backs Eline, Nikki Dey, Elke Ohnoutka, Heather Brown and forward Jill Hoffhines helped rebuff numerous threats.
Hoffhines shut down Saunders, who had four goals and six assists.
"I felt like I was under rapid fire," Farrow said of Centennial's consecutive scoring attempts. "I felt like everybody on the field was in the circle, and I didn't see the ball half the time."
Centennial controlled the first half more than the second. The Eagles enjoyed advantages of 10-5 in shots and 8-0 in penalty corners. In the second half, Saunders missed an open net, and a triple-shot flurry by Saunders, Loomis and link Katrina Wolfe went for naught just before Snyder's winning shot.
Petrlik compared the victory with last season's upset of Glenelg, which was undefeated on the last day of the season.