It turned out to be a game neither team deserved to lose, but don't tell that to the C. Milton Wright players, especially Becky Gerhart.
It was Gerhart's direct kick from 25 yards out on the right side with 1:05 left in the second overtime that lifted the host and No. 4 Mustangs (11-0-1, 7-0) to a tense 3-2 victory over No. 8 Fallston (9-3, 6-1) in their battle for the Harford County championship last night.
"Normally Nancy Tevault takes Girls soccer
the direct kicks, but near the penalty area, Becky takes them from the side," said C. Milton coach Ken Dawson of the winning shot.
The ball went to the best possible spot for a score, the far upper corner, and Fallston keeper Suzy Harrison made a great play on the ball, but not quite enough to stop it.
"Both teams played well, and I know my girls aren't losers," said Fallston coach Nancy Ferguson. "I knew it was going to be a war. These games always are."
This marked the Mustangs' first outright county title in the sport since 1986, although they had shared at least one title in the interim.
The decision ended a string of three straight Fallston victories in the series, games normally won by the home team except for two years ago when the Cougars prevailed, 1-0.
Fallston made it look easy when scoring leader Beth Blasi took a pass from Cindy Wolf and rammed the ball past Wright keeper Erin Updegrove with just two minutes elapsed.
The Cougars were the first team to score on Updegrove since Wright's season-opening 2-2 tie against Centennial. It ended a string of 10 shutouts with a goal-differential of 56-0.
FTC As it developed, the rest of the way was a struggle, much of it played in a cold rain.
Jackie Bangert got Wright even with a penalty kick midway of the half and the two sides played even for the next 40 minutes, both sides showing excellent skills.
A great pass by Erin Lesh from the wing forward to the front of the box set the stage for Miranda James to draw Harrison out of the goal, then kick the ball past her for a go-ahead goal.
Fallston countered five minutes later when Courtney Benner's shot caromed off the back of a defender into the unprotected side of the goal.
Wright got a particularly strong defensive performance from Bangert, who was switched from halfback to sweeper after Michelle Gayo went down with an injury some 12 minutes into the second half. "Jackie had played back there last year, so it wasn't new to her. She gave us a great effort, and Erin [Updegrove] had some key saves," said Dawson. "Overall, this is a talented bunch."
The only blemish on Wright's record this season was the tie with Centennial and Fallston had won eight in a row since losing two (Hammond and Oakland Mills) of its first three games.