As her jubilant teammates were running a victory lap off in the distance, Centennial goalie Becca Armiger sat on the team bench, taking off her equipment.
"I think we had something to prove," Armiger said, "and we proved it."
Connie Garrant's goal 1:55 into overtime gave the unranked Eagles a 1-0 victory over fourth-ranked North Carroll yesterday at Centennial in the Class 3A North Regional final.
Centennial will play the winner of tomorrow's West Regional final (Walter Johnson at Magruder, 2 p.m.) in a state semifinal game Monday at 1 p.m. at Goucher College.
"This win means more to us than last year," said Centennial coach Gail Purcell, whose team last season also advanced to the 3A state semifinals before losing to Leonardtown.
"Everything fell into place last year. This year we've had to overcome a lot of adversity. We backed into the county title [the Eagles shared it with Atholton], but this win proves that we deserve respect."
Centennial scored when Kristin Gaudio brought the ball down the right side and into the circle.
The Panthers' defense stopped Gaudio, but the ball came out to Liz Sturm, who was standing on the line at the top of the circle.
Sturm's shot was stopped by goalie Becky Bosley, but the ball came right to the wide-open Garrant, who shot high into the right corner of the goal.
"Liz took the shot and it rebounded right to me," said Garrant, whose goal was the difference in the Eagles' 2-1 playoff win over Howard Monday. "I saw the ball and hit it as hard as I could. I looked up and it was in the net."
"She [Bosley] didn't have a chance to get that shot. It was a good shot," said North Carroll coach Denean Koontz.
"This game could have gone either way," said Koontz, whose team will lose only two seniors. "We both had our opportunities, but you're not going to win if you don't score. We had a great season. We have a young team. We'll be back."
Centennial (8-4-1) took 16 shots, nearly twice as many as North Carroll, and took 12 penalty corners to just four for the Panthers (11-4).
Bosley had an outstanding performance in goal.
"Their keeper kept them in the game," said Purcell.
Each team had a goal waved off by officials in the second half.
"I really felt if we got into overtime we would beat them," said Purcell, "because we had controlled the game and the momentum was in our direction.
"If we had lost, I would have been upset because we outplayed them. The ending was very appropriate to what happened in the game."