Dulaney's injured All-Metro midfielder Abby Bausman sat on the bench wondering how her teammates would fair against a Perry Hall squad that had allowed only two goals in its previous nine games.
But after junior striker Ali Schuch scored the first of her two goals just 30 seconds into the game, Bausman knew she and her torn knee ligaments could rest easy.
Schuch, a second-team All-Metro pick, staked the defending 3A-4A state champ and third-ranked Lions (11-0, 9-0) to a 2-1 halftime lead en route to a 3-1 win that clinched a Baltimore County 3A-4A League crown over No. 15 Perry Hall (8-2, 8-1).
Their efforts came against a Perry Hall squad which had outscored its previous opponents, 42-2, with a 2-0 loss to No. 4 Fallston.
The victory set up tomorrow's Baltimore County title rematch with 1A-2A division champ Loch Raven (12-0). Loch Raven, last year's 1A-2A state champ and the area's co-No. 1-ranked team, has a 20-game winning streak, including last year's 2-0 win over Dulaney.
"We all just worked together and played as hard as we could," said Schuch. "That first goal really pumped us up."
Schuch, who raised her totals to 29 goals to go with 11 assists, wasted little time dictating yesterday's action.
Teammate Heather Truxel, who replaced Bausman at center midfield, crossed the ball to Schuch just 6 yards off the goal line, where Schuch headed it into the net's opposite corner before keeper Stephanie Koman (five saves) could react.
"That was the first league goal we've given up, and I guess we weren't ready," said fullback Jen McCarty. "They came out strong, but I thought we came back well."
That the Gators did, answering less than five minutes later on a scoring sequence beginning with Jessica Phoebus, who has eight goals and nine assists, blasting the ball off the right post.
Phoebus' volley drew keeper Kate Szper (eight saves) from the goal, and Szper couldn't get back before Nikki Foos banged her shot into an empty net.
But Schuch responded again with 17:64 left in the half.
After sophomore Page Young, who has 15 goals and eight assists, brought the ball up the far sideline before dishing it to Schuch on the run just inside the box, a collision with defender Lisa Goddard briefly halted Schuch's momentum. But Schuch recovered, kicking her low volley into the net's opposite corner past Koman, who had drifted to the other post toward where the play appeared to be headed.
Perry Hall closed the half strongly, with Phoebus missing a direct kick and Szper stopping close-range shots by Bev Campbell and Jessica Loehr.
The Gators' momentum continued into the second half, when they continually beat the Lions' defense to the corners but couldn't get their long-range shots past Szper.
Dulaney, which has won 15 straight, got untracked, with Kristin McLewee (eight goals, four assists) missing once and Young missing twice before Young scored on a 10-yarder on a cross from Schuch with 16:58 left in the game.
Perry Hall boys 2, Dulaney 0
Alan Batac and Brandon Oliver each scored first-half goals and Brian Doherty assisted on both goals as host and No. 8 Perry Hall (11-1) defeated Dulaney (8-3), 2-0, to advance to tomorrow's Baltimore County championship game at Hereford vs. Sparrows Point at 7 p.m.
Bill Foos had 10 saves for Perry Hall.