Twice was enough for C. Milton Wright's girls lacrosse team.
After falling to Perry Hall the past two years, the No. 11 Mustangs finally knocked the Gators out of the regional playoffs. Sara Pokrywka scored the game-winner in overtime to lift the Mustangs to a 7-6 victory and the Class 3A-4A, Region III championship yesterday at Perry Hall.
The Mustangs (14-0) advanced to the final four for the first time since the official state tournament began in 1990. Seeded second behind three-time defending champ Severna Park, they will meet South Carroll tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Catonsville Community College.
Pokrywka, a speedy attack wing who scored four goals, added her second in overtime on a free-position shot with 1:14 left in the six-minute period.
But Mustangs keeper Carmen Kinard preserved the victory with about 30 seconds left by saving Kerri Johnson's free-position shot.
Johnson, who led the top-seeded Gators (12-3) with two goals and an assist, had scored earlier in overtime on a free position, but Kinard wouldn't give her the last one. Of five Perry Hall shots in overtime, Kinard stopped three to boost her game total to 28 saves.
"Carmen really is great at free-position saves," said Mustangs defender Julie Smith. "We have so much confidence in her we would rather foul and have her have to face a free-position shot, because we feel that safe with her there."
Kinard's 13-save first-half performance helped the Mustangs get off to a quick start in a physical, sometimes overly aggressive, game.
Both teams played with at least one extra player in the defensive end trying to double-team the ball. Some dangerous checking kept the trainer busy and sent one player, C. Milton Wright's Willow Waldrop, to the hospital with an apparent concussion.
Early in the game, the Mustangs managed to break through Perry Hall's defense for a 3-0 lead. Pokrywka scored two and Julie Jakum added another. At the other end, excellent team defense from Smith, Jakum, Waldrop, Debbie Keiser, Amy Hypes, Becky Gerhardt and Amanda Fouts held off the Gators despite 19 shots.
Keri Folley finally put the Gators on the board with a free-position goal 29 seconds before halftime.
The Gators held onto the momentum early in the second half. Jamie Krauk grabbed a rebound, spun around and shot high to pull within 3-2 less than two minutes into the half.
Kathleen Fort tied the game three minutes later taking a pass on the outside from Amie Stone and running in to shoot.