After much speculation about which was the better team in Baltimore County Division I, 13th-ranked Loch Raven and No. 10 Franklin dealt with the issue face-to-face last night.
The host Raiders gave up an early goal but rallied at the beginning of the second half to forge a 1-1 tie. The result after two overtimes kept both teams unbeaten in the league.
The divisional champion will play the winner of the other Baltimore County division -- probably No. 9 Hereford -- for the Baltimore County championship on Oct. 26.
The game at times resembled more a wrestling match than a soccer game, with both teams choosing to play physically.
"That was some hard-nose, rough-and-tumble soccer," said Franklin coach George Wagner. "I thought we had them by the tail for a good part of the game, but they're a good team, and they proved it tonight."
Franklin (5-0-4 overall, 4-0-1 league) got on the board first. With just over five minutes gone, junior Jamie Burnham angled a cross in front of Loch Raven goalkeeper Molly Rogers. But the ball bounced in front of the net and over Rogers' hands for a 1-0 lead.
The Indians, led by defender Lindsay Sproul, controlled the ball most of the first half.
Loch Raven (7-2-1, 5-0-1) came out recharged for the second half.
After three shots and some exceptional saves by Franklin keeper Candice Doten in the first five minutes, the Raiders' pressure paid off in the 51st minute, when Christine Hild headed in a cross from Gina Ruocco for the tie.
Both teams had late second-half chances, the best by Sproul, who in the 76th minute chipped a 25-yard direct kick over Loch Raven's defensive wall and off the crossbar.
Franklin had the better of play in the first of two overtime periods, but the second was more evenly played.
The tie gave Loch Raven, which has played one more league game than Franklin, a slight advantage in the league standings. Loch Raven has games left against Dundalk and Catonsville; Franklin has Dundalk, Eastern Tech, and Dulaney.
"It's still up in the air," said Loch Raven coach Mike Parker. "We had our harder games early, and now they have to play those teams. It should be interesting."