Everything was in place yesterday for a Mount Hebron celebration.
When Kelly Dodson's second goal of the game gave the Vikings a 3-0 lead over host Glenelg with 19:23 remaining, Mount Hebron appeared on its way to its first Howard County championship since 1985.
Shortly before Dodson's goal, athletic director Mark Cates had arrived with the championship trophy that he planned to present coach Jeannette Ireland and her team.
But it never happened.
Glenelg, which didn't take its first shot in the second half until 13:25 left, scored three straight goals, the last one from Sheri McCready with 2:37 remaining, to send the game into overtime.
The Gladiators then completed their improbable comeback with 6:18 left in overtime when sophomore right link Allison Bryan scored for a 4-3 victory that cost the Vikings the county title.
"They left me wide open," said Bryan, whose close-in shot just caught the inside of the near post. "I'm so thankful. I was scared it wasn't going to go in."
Centennial, which finished its county season Monday with a scoreless tie against Howard, and Atholton, which defeated Oakland Mills 1-0 yesterday, finished as co-champions with 5-1-1 records.
Mount Hebron, which defeated Centennial 1-0 and lost to Atholton by the same score during the season, finished third at 5-2. It's the Eagles' third consecutive county title and the first for Atholton since 1980.
"There was a momentum swing and I felt it," said Ireland, whose team (9-2-1 overall) plays host to Thomas Johnson tomorrow in the first round of the state Class 3A playoffs.
"I thought we could hold it, but Glenelg never quit. I didn't think the game was over [leading 3-0]. We played hard but just made some big mistakes.
"When it got to 3-2 we played scared. We played not to lose instead of to win. It's a big disappointment."
Sheri Scoville scored first for Glenelg (4-8 overall, 4-3 league) with 12:41 left. With just under 10 minutes, Glenelg coach Ginger Kincaid called a timeout.
"I told them I hadn't given up on them and I didn't want them to give up on me," said Kincaid, whose team had been shut out three of its last four games.
Tori Ballentine's goal with 4:11 left brought Glenelg to within one.
Less than two minutes later, McCready scored off a penalty corner when she took Kelly Waskey's pass and fired a hard shot past goalie Jess Cruttenden.
"After their first goal," said Mount Hebron's Brigitte Goss, "we didn't react quick enough and before we knew it the game was tied. We felt secure [with the three goal lead]. To have it come back in our face was a big shock, to say the least."
"This team is as good as any county championship team I've put out there and I've put out eight," said Kincaid, whose team plays host to Walkersville tomorrow in the opening round of the class 2A playoffs.
"They just didn't believe in themselves. They played with a lot of heart in the second half. I hadn't seen that all year."
* Towson 3, Catonsville 0: Meg Miley scored 1:13 into the game and added a goal early in the second half to spark No. 14 Towson over unranked Catonsville in the Baltimore County Championship.
But the Generals (9-3) haven't finished with the Comets (10-3). Thanks to the blind draw for regional playoff berths, the two teams will meet in the Class 2A North opener tomorrow.