After playing 60 minutes of scoreless field hockey with No. 7 Roland Park yesterday, Fallston's Kim Ziegler knew the No. 4 Cougars had to make the most of any advantage they could gain in overtime.
She and speedy teammate Riki Reuben needed only 28 seconds to snatch that edge as they connected for the game-winner and Fallston's first-ever victory over the visiting Reds, 1-0, in sudden-death overtime.
Reuben wasted no time igniting a fast break down the left side into the circle and crossed the ball to Ziegler on the far side of the circle.
Reds goalie Shannon Burke, who had charged Ziegler to make two sliding saves against her in the second half, came out again. This time, Ziegler found the angle and slammed the ball around Burke into the left corner of the goal.
"I knew this was definitely our chance," said Ziegler. "Riki's got so much speed. She just takes it down that side whenever she gets it. I saw the goalie step out when Riki passed it across, so I just took the shot."
Reuben's blazing speed becomes an even greater asset in overtime, which is played with only six field players on each side. In a more open field, she can maneuver quickly, making it difficult for an opponent to stick with her.
"That's pretty much my tactic when I get the ball," said Reuben. "I try to dribble upfield as far as I can and then when I think the player is just trying to keep up with me and not really going for the ball anymore, I cut behind them and I try to take a hit in."
Reds defender Molly Frew faced a tough decision with Reuben closing in - stand her ground or come out to play her. Frew opted to stay back.
"Just the fact that she can get that extra step really quickly helps with getting down the field," said Frew. "With one person back, it's tough to decide whether to go play it or whether to keep the space and be protective, because if she gets by me there's no one else behind me."
For the Cougars (5-1), who also beat North East in the first few minutes of overtime, the victory made up for last week's 2-0 loss at Bryn Mawr.
"This was one of those games where one shot could make the game," said Ziegler, whose team took five shots while the Reds had seven.
"They're a very strong team and we were both so competitive. We know the game could have gone either way. This is a great feeling."
The Cougars can thank defender Brandi Burdych for getting them to overtime, because she made a high stick save against Lawrie Peck with five seconds left in regulation.
The Reds (2-2-2), who got a terrific midfield game from Katie Atkins, also had played one overtime game this season, a 0-0 tie with Severna Park at their Sally Nyborg Tournament.
In their last four games, the Reds have managed just one goal.
Yesterday, they had an 11-4 edge in penalty corners and couldn't make it work for them.