Wilde Lake's magical playoff tour continued yesterday as the Wildecats rallied from a late one-goal deficit to hand visiting Hammond a 2-1 overtime defeat in the Class 2A South region final.
Feeding off late-game momentum, Wilde Lake (3-11-1) applied early overtime pressure to Hammond's tired defense.
On a corner, Wildecat forward Michelle Smith feed a crisp pass to senior teammate Alex Roe, who blasted the winning goal into the back of the box for the Wildecats' second consecutive 2-1 victory in the state playoffs.
"This made all the pulled muscles and the mud worth it," Roe said as her mud-caked teammates celebrated around her on the soggy turf.
The Wildecat win was especially sweet for Wilde Lake's senior players, who had never beaten Hammond during their four years on varsity.
"When we played [Hammond] earlier this year, we had a 1-0 lead and lost it [4-1] after a rain delay because Hammond came back more psyched than us," Roe said. "We thought this time, the third time, would be the charm."
After a winless regular season in Howard County (0-6-1), Wilde Lake has found a new life in the postseason by forgetting the past.
"We just decided to start all over," Wilde Lake coach Karen Doerrler said.
For a moment, however, it appeared Wilde Lake's regional championship hopes would end when Hammond (4-9-1) broke the scoreless deadlock with senior Jenny Pollock's goal with 14:30 remaining in the game.
"We got tired and perhaps should have subbed a little more toward the end," Hammond coach Gay Petrlik said.
Hammond goalie Katie Reytar (12 saves) preserved the Bears' one-goal lead with two quick saves, but Wilde Lake sophomore Katie Troutman slapped a shot past a grounded Reytar to knot the score at 1 with 3:10 left in regulation.
"That goal gave Wilde Lake such an adrenalin rush going into overtime," Petrlik said. "We just had one of those seasons."