When Wilde Lake tied Hammond early in the second half yesterday, the momentum clearly shifted -- to Hammond.
Ashley Decker scored shortly after the Wilde Lake goal, and Kisha Jett added another in the final minute to give visiting No. 3 Hammond a 4-2 victory over No. 13 Wilde Lake in a battle for first place in Howard County.
Hammond (8-1, 4-0) seemed to take control after Wilde Lake's Lindsay Waxler put in a high, arching 18-yard shot from near the right sideline to tie the game 2-2 in the eighth minute of the second half.
"It woke us up," said Hammond coach Dave Guetler. "We really wanted this game."
Guetler said the opposition's scoring has seemed to perk up the Golden Bears all season. He said his team likes to gain two-goal cushions whenever possible.
And yesterday, Decker and Jett made it possible. Decker took a good lead pass from Emily Bielefeld (one goal, one assist) and punched the ball high over onrushing Wilde Lake goalie Leah Angle (13 saves) and into the net for a 3-2 lead in the 15th minute.
"I was there right at the right time," said Decker, who rolled a shot wide left 20 seconds earlier. "I thought the goalie got it from me."
Jett added the insurance goal in the final minute. Katy Evans pushed the ball forward to Jett, who broke in alone on Angle, faked her out and rolled the ball into the net.
Wilde Lake (5-2-1, 3-1) nearly tied the game moments before Jett scored. Nat Froman took a sliding shot from the doorstep that seemed headed in, but Hammond goalie Amy Nestor (seven saves) knocked it away with her hand.
Hammond was able to control play much of the second half by winning a lot of balls at midfield. Kacy Williams (one goal, one assist), Liz Bielefeld and Natalie Serianni all helped with the midfield play.
Hammond also used its speed to keep the pressure on the Wilde Lake defense much of the game. The Golden Bears outshot Wilde Lake, 24-12.
Hammond jumped on top first when Williams scored in the game's third minute. Kristen Riismandel tied it in the sixth minute with an assist from Renny Trellis. Emily Bielefeld gave the Golden Bears a 2-1 halftime lead when she headed in a ball from Williams in the 29th minute.
Hammond missed several scoring chances, especially in the first half. Jett broke in alone on Angle and faked her out, but rolled a shot wide of the empty net. Williams got another one-on-one shot a few minutes later, but Angle blocked it.
Wilde Lake also found numerous chances, but came up empty. With about 16 minutes left in the first half, the Wildecats used some slick passing to get Katie Douglas a good shot from 10 yards out. Douglas sent it high over the bar, however. Riismandel added another good shot as the half ended, but Nestor stopped it.
"We had some good opportunities," said Wilde Lake coach Rick Wilson. "We just couldn't convert."