Glenelg forward Kelly O'Connor saw the ball roll over the line and into the Centennial goal. She was hoping an official saw it, too.
"I was trying to pick up the ball but the referee didn't call it and everybody was still playing," said O'Connor. "I was afraid the referee didn't see it."
Seconds later, the whistle blew and O'Connor got her goal with 21: 13 left in the game. Centennial disputed the call, but the play stood and it turned out to be the difference in the Gladiators' 1-0 victory over 14th-ranked Centennial.
Glenelg (8-2, 5-0 league) earned its sixth straight win and remains the only unbeaten team in county play. The defending county champion Eagles (6-4, 3-2) suffered their second straight league loss, both by 1-0 scores.
While Centennial was critical of the call that allowed the goal, the Eagles acknowledged that visiting Glenelg was the better team.
"They definitely earned it, but not that goal," said Centennial goalie Donna Boccuzzi. "I was in front of the line. There's no doubt in my mind."
There was a host of players in the circle when Glenelg's Elizabeth Narron fed O'Connor the ball near the goal. O'Connor's shot hit Boccuzzi's leg pad and she kicked it out. The question was whether the ball crossed the line.
"It definitely did," said O'Connor.
Official Helen Moody agreed. "The ball hit her [Boccuzzi] pad across the line," Moody said. "There was no doubt about it."
Centennial coach Gail Purcell didn't agree with the call, but said the Gladiators "deserved to win."
"They played good hockey, and good hockey wins games," Purcell said. "They outplayed us."
Purcell said there was "no heart" from the Eagles. "The bottom line," she said, "was that we didn't step up like it was a county championship game, which it was for us."
O'Connor said Glenelg "played like we were scared to lose" in the first half, then turned things around in the second. "We totally attacked the ball and put pressure everywhere," she said.
Added Glenelg coach Ginger Kincaid: "I told them at halftime not to back off and to challenge everything. They're very coachable and listen to me, and that's something you can't replace."