A year ago, Garrison Forest forward Geagy Pritchard was a freshman standing on the sidelines during the deciding second overtime of the IAAM championship game won by Bryn Mawr. Thursday, in the IAAM semifinal game at St. Paul's, again against Bryn Mawr, Pritchard was a star.
With 2:03 gone in overtime, Pritchard scored the winning goal from in front of the Mawrtians' net for a 2-1 Garrison victory. The win propels the No. 9 Grizzlies (15-2-1) back to the championship game Sunday at Goucher College where they will face No. 12 Notre Dame Prep (13-3-1).
NDP, this season's A-Conference regular season champion, advanced with a 1-0 victory over Roland Park in its semifinal contest, leaving coach Maggie Huether breathless.
"I think my voice is going to go at any minute," she said. "It was really a good game."
NDP is going to the title game for the first time in more than a decade thanks to a timely goal by Anne Federico.
"We haven't been to the finals since long before I graduated from NDP in 2001," Huether said. "I've been coaching here since 2007 and over these last four years we've been slowly building the program. I think this might be the year [to win the title], but Garrison will be tough. They have a great coach and a young, quick, fast and skillful team."
During the regular season, Garrison and NDP beat each other once on each other's home fields.
"I'm glad to be back to the finals," said Garrison coach Traci Davis. "We had a rough start this season, but there was no looking back. We've improved in every game."
Garrison's Pritchard said she is thrilled to be back in the final, too, but admitted beating Bryn Mawr gave her a terrific feeling.
"Last year I played in the first overtime against them, but was on the sidelines for the second," she said. "It was excruciating … Today, when I saw the ball trapped between two of their players' legs, I just spun around and whipped it as hard as I could and hoped it would go in."
And it did.
"We wanted to win this game so badly," she said. "And I was so afraid in the closing seconds of regulation that they were going to score. They were really fired up. But they didn't get a shot."
Both Bryn Mawr and Garrison Forest played strong, sound games. Bryn Mawr took the early 1-0 lead with 7:52 to play in the first half on a goal by Eliza Clemens and Garrison tied it up 4:20 later when Cody Magnus finally got one past Bryn Mawr goalie Claire Edelman.
Edelman kept the Mawrtians in the game in that first half, making nine saves. She made five more in the second half, before giving way in overtime when she found herself double teamed by Pritchard and Garland Mooney, who were both in front of her looking for the ball.
"It was a good game," said Edelman, a sophomore. "We tried our hardest. There is nothing to be disappointed about in a game like this."
As Bryn Mawr coach Jeanette Budzik said, it was a fast, high-level performance with high-level stick work from both sides.
"Someone had to score eventually," said Budzik. "We fought hard but it's hard to repeat the year after a championship and I'm sure they had a little incentive given the outcome of last year's final."