No. 7 Loch Raven went into yesterday's game against No. 6 Dulaney needing a win to clinch a spot in the Baltimore County championship game. At least that's what the Raiders thought.
Not until after they tied Dulaney, 2-2 in double overtime, did coach Anthony Menegatti inform the Raiders that they had won the Division I title and a trip to Catonsville High for Wednesday's 6 p.m. county title clash with Division II winner Owings Mills.
"I didn't tell them they just had to tie today, because I wanted them to go out and keep the pressure on, keep playing our game," said Menegatti. "I felt if they knew about it and we got into a tie, we'd get too far back, we would end up losing it."
The strategy worked at least as far as motivating the host Raiders (9-1-1 overall, 6-0-1 league) to keep the pressure on the defending county champs (10-1-1, 5-1-1).
Loch Raven outshot the Lions, 28-11, and held Dulaney without a shot until about 10 minutes into the second half. Despite five corner kicks and nine shots in the first half, the Raiders could not convert anything.
A big reason for that was Dulaney keeper Tricia Dabrowski, who made some sensational diving stops among her 20 saves. The sophomore saved the Lions in the first overtime, punching away Carrie Winkler's point-blank shot.
"Trish is an excellent goal keeper," said Dulaney coach Amy Green. "Even though she's young, she takes charge out there. She saved me from having heart attacks a couple times today."
In the second overtime, Raiders' keeper Terry Hendricks made two of her five saves including a leaping grab to snare Kristen McLewee's direct kick from about 18 yards out.
In regulation, the Raiders were a bit frustrated after missing so many early opportunities, but they finally broke through on Bridget Harthausen's goal less than four minutes into the second half.
"We were so over-exerting ourselves in the first half," said Harthausen. "In a way, we wanted the goal so much and you've got to kind of relax. Once we got ourselves settled, we put it in the net."
Wendy Yingling started the scoring drive with a pass to Susan Giannaccini, who popped it ahead to Harthausen in the middle.
That lead held up for almost 10 minutes before Dulaney finally struck on a break started by sweeper Kerrie Eisenhauer. Ali Schuch took the pass in the middle and found Paige Young on the left side for the shot.
Loch Raven pulled ahead again when Nicole Froman headed in Yingling's corner kick, but the Lions answered on another breakaway with 5:33 left to play.
This time Young fed Schuch in the middle and Schuch pushed the ball past the charging Hendricks.