At the coin flip before sudden-death overtime, Parkville captain Stephanie Gnau chose the end of the field with sun at her team's back.
All game long at Hereford's stadium, the setting sun had been a 12th player. Each team scored a goal in regulation when the opposing keeper lost the ball in the sun, setting up a 2-2 tie.
But Parkville couldn't capitalize on its advantage in the first 10 minutes of overtime, and Hereford's game-winner was a beauty -- with no help from the sun.
Hollis Botti fired a rocket off the far post that Brooke Levinne deflected into the net to give No. 9 Hereford a 3-2 victory over the Knights in a critical Baltimore County Division II match.
The two-time defending county champion Bulls (7-2) remained in a tie for the division lead at 4-0 with Perry Hall, their opponent Wednesday. The Knights (5-3) dropped to 2-1.
Yesterday, each team dominated the half it played with the sun at its back. But the Knights, who took a 2-0 first-half lead, could not manage a shot with the sun behind them in overtime.
When the teams switched sides, the Bulls maintained the momentum, and Levinne scored the deciding goal four minutes before the game would have been declared a tie.
The play started when Melissa Mueller headed the ball in Botti's direction about 30 yards from the goal. Gnau and Lisa Tsimbidis collapsed on Botti and appeared to take the ball from her, but it got loose behind them.
"Lisa cleared it, but it just ricocheted off me," said Gnau, "and went back to [Botti]. Her shot went off the post and whoever had that mark over there [Levinne] obviously wasn't marking up."
Botti beat Knights keeper Heather Rock to the ball and took the shot. Levinne anticipated the rebound.
"Brooke has a nose for the goal," said Hereford coach Steve Power. "She scored eight goals last year, and they were all the same -- shots that were off or rebounds off the metal."
After being outplayed in the first half, the Bulls began their rally when Mueller scored on a penalty kick in the 50th minute.
Botti tied it in the 76th minute, redirecting Annie Ernst's 40-yard boot from midfield. With the sun in her eyes, Rock was caught off balance when she lost sight of the high long ball.
The Knights had taken a 2-0 lead on Kristen Habicht's header and then Stacy Anastasia's 35-yarder that Bulls keeper Becky Rambo lost in the sun.
"Hereford is a quality team," said Parkville coach Bryan Rothstein, "and you have to put them away when you have the chance. But I'm proud of my girls. Three years ago, Parkville wasn't even on the map, and now we're competing with the best."
Pub Date: 10/03/98