You can excuse the Perry Hall Gators if they were a little down yesterday after falling behind, 1-0, in their field hockey game against Kenwood.
The Bluebirds' first-half goal was just the second scored against the 14th-ranked Gators all season. The fact that it came in Baltimore County's marquee matchup of the year didn't help either.
But in a game where the winner all but assured itself at least a share of the county 3A-4A League title, visiting Perry Hall soon turned its disappointment into positive energy, dominating the second half en route to a 2-1 victory.
The win gave the Gators (8-0, 8-0) sole possession of first place in the league, one game in front of Kenwood (8-1, 8-1) with two to go.
And as the regional playoffs approach, it also showed that Perry Hall is capable of coming back from a deficit, something the team may need to do in later rounds.
Yesterday, goals by Kristen Sowis and Krisan Pfeifer, and superior second-half defense by Tennille Foster and Kerri Folley against All-County forward Danielle Baker did the trick.
But not before a rough beginning.
"It was like we were stuck in our shoes in the first half," said Perry Hall coach Linda Fisher. "When [the Bluebirds] scored their first goal, I could just see it on my players' faces. They were down."
Baker put the Bluebirds ahead, 1-0, by deflecting in Melissa Cover's shot off a penalty corner with 17:57 to play in the half.
They then kept the ball at the Gators' end for several minutes, time and again winning balls from a lifeless defense.
But when Perry Hall evened the score near halftime, the complexion of the game changed dramatically.
With 1:50 left in the half, Sowis got the rebound of her own shot and beat goalie Colleen Bess to tie the game at 1-1.
From there, it was all Perry Hall.
The Gators outshot Kenwood, 10-2, in the second half and took the lead for good with 9:30 left.
Ipsita Das won the ball on the left side and sent it to Sowis, who crossed it to the waiting stick of Pfeifer in front.
Meanwhile, the Bluebirds rarely moved the ball over midfield, and Baker, battling a wall of defenders led by Foster, hardly touched the ball at all.
"They had a nice wall today, and we just couldn't get through it," said Kenwood coach Karen Spicer, whose team allowed just its second and third goals all season. "They just played a great second half."