There are rarely must-win games in the season's first month, but the 12th-ranked Broadneck Bruins were facing an important game last night at Severna Park.
Coming off back-to-back losses, another setback threatened to turn their dreams of a state title into a battle to simply make the playoffs.
But with an 11-10 overtime victory over the eighth-ranked Falcons, those dreams remained alive for another day.
Liz Goodrich and Ann Rodriguez each scored hat tricks and Jessica Hull added two goals, including the game-winner, as the Bruins (2-2) broke out to an early 5-1 lead then rallied for the win with two goals in the final 53 seconds.
"That's about as big a win as you can get," said Broadneck coach Jenn Shuck. "We never gave up, and for the first time this year we were able to pass and catch the ball.
"You can only lose so many games and still make the playoffs."
The importance of the game wasn't lost on Broadneck players, especially Hull, whose unassisted goal with 41 seconds left in overtime proved the difference.
"That's the biggest win I've ever been a part of," said Hull, who also had two assists. "Coming off our loss to Chesapeake, we really needed that."
The win seemed like a lock early on, as Broadneck fired 10 of the game's first 13 shots and ran out to a 5-1 lead.
But led by Ericka Hergenroeder (three goals) and Melissa Ballance, Susan Stanke and Ani Mason (two each), the Falcons (2-2) clawed back into the game, scoring four unanswered goals to pull even.
They forced overtime on a goal by Krissy Schmidt with 14 seconds left in regulation.
They then took their first lead on Hergenroeder's goal off an eight-meter shot midway through overtime.
Just over a minute later, however, the Bruins' Megan Santacroce tied the game at 10, and Hull's effort then closed the door.
"We made some mental mistakes," said Severna Park coach Carin Peterson. "We had the opportunity to win the game, and you've got to give all the credit to Broadneck.
"We're going to have to learn that we can't just walk out onto the field and expect to win."
The victory was a big one for the Bruins in the standings, but perhaps even bigger emotionally.
"Our reputation went down a lot with our two losses, and I think this will show everybody that we are really a good team," said Goodrich.
"We could lose everything else this season, but we'd still be happy we won this one."