Some girls would have called it a season after taking a ball to the lip that required 40 stitches to repair. Not Mount Hebron field hockey player Ali Lemons.
Lemons, injured Sept. 15, missed 3 1/2 weeks. But yesterday, in her third game back, she scored the game-winning goal in double overtime as the host Vikings upset previously undefeated River Hill, 1-0.
In the county championship race, the loss dropped the No. 5-ranked Hawks (10-1-2 overall, 6-1-1 league) a half game behind No. 6 Long Reach (11-2, 7-1), a 4-0 winner yesterday over Atholton.
The Hawks play host to Howard at 3:30 p.m. in the final game of the regular season tomorrow. Long Reach, which plays host to Glenelg also at 3:30, needs a win to capture the county championship and earn top seed in the region. A tie would give the Lightning a co-championship if River Hill defeats Howard.
Mount Hebron, Long Reach and River Hill are all in the same Class 3A region.
The Vikings' defense, led by sweeper Emily Goldman, played a large role in the victory yesterday by repeatedly frustrating River Hill's attack.
Vikings goalkeeper Melanie Langmead made 10 saves. Several of those stops proved difficult, including one on a stick save in the first half.
It was senior day for Mount Hebron, and coach Jeannette Ireland got all nine seniors some playing time.
"This was the last game at Mount Hebron for the seniors, so we put it all out there," Langmead said. "It was a team effort. We were more fierce in the circle than they were."
Lemons scored from the middle of the circle with 4:40 left in the second 10-minute overtime, taking her time and knocking the ball into the corner of the goal. She was set up by a cross from the right side from Lauren Kostelknik, who received a pass from Samantha Thomas.
"I shot it from about 5 meters out, and had only the goalkeeper to beat," Lemons said, as lightning flashed, wind blew strongly and rain began to fall shortly after the Mount Hebron victory.
Both teams had chances to win in regulation time, with Mount Hebron producing three dangerous opportunities that included multiple shots in front of the goal.
Cindy Nicolaus played one of her best games this season at center midfield, constantly winning 50-50 balls.
"I thought we'd be in trouble in overtime," Ireland said of the Vikings. "We had lost to Garrison Forest in our only previous overtime, so it's nice to know we can win in overtime.
"Ali stepped up and is getting more and more confident after her injury. I'm pleased we bounced back so quickly from a tough loss to Glenelg last Friday."
River Hill coach Shelly Chamness thought her team played well despite the rougher field conditions on natural grass. River Hill's home field is Bermuda grass.