While a hurricane named Lili threatened the North Carolina coast, two girls soccer teams -- St. Mary's and John Carroll -- were kicking up a storm just a couple of blocks away from Annapolis' Severn River.
The game between the top two Baltimore Catholic League teams pitted the St. Mary's Saints, last year's regular season champion, against the Patriots, last year's tournament champion.
When the turbulence ended, St. Mary's (9-2 overall, 7-2 in league play) had escaped with a 4-3 victory and come within a few percentage points of the league-leading Patriots (6-2-2, 6-1-1).
Statistically, the game looked pretty even, with each team having six corner kicks, the Saints having a 15-12 edge in shots, and John Carroll keeper Karen Olsen making eight saves, compared to six for St. Mary's Virginia Frisch.
But the Patriots, who fell behind 2-0 in the first half and 4-2 late in the second, couldn't execute their short passing game on the bumpy field against the hustling Saints.
"We were only able to play in spurts," said the Patriots' Julia Malinowski, who scored the game-tying goal to make it 2-2 in the second half. "They were playing long ball and kick-and-run and we're a control team."
Perhaps the most steady and unnoticed player for the Saints was defender Heather Greenlee, who shadowed Malinowski throughout the game.
"Everywhere I went she was breathing down my neck," said Malinowski (seven goals), an All-Metro, All-County and All-League selection who is also a candidate for the under-19 national team.
"That was Heather's job," said Saints coach Jerry Tobin. "She marked Julia out of the game."
St. Mary's Kathy Green, an All-County player, scored the first of her two goals with nine minutes gone to give her squad a 1-0 lead.
Green tallied after a weak clear by a John Carroll defender. Her goal was followed by Liz McGonagle's penalty kick with five minutes left in the half.
McGonagle, also an All-County and All-League player, placed her shot high into the right corner. Olsen had no chance.
But the Patriots' All-League players -- Carrie Stallings (five goals) and Malinowski -- struck quickly for their team in the second half.
Stallings launched her shot from the far corner and Malinowski slipped her shot under Frisch. All of a sudden the game was tied at 2-2 with a long 36 minutes left to play.
"We had hoped that goal would give us momentum," said Malinowski.
But 13 minutes later, St. Mary's midfielder Randall Goldsborough, a returning All-League and All-County player, scored for the Saints.
Goldsborough collected a rebound after Olsen blocked the shot of her teammate, Meredith Kennedy.
Then Green capitalized on another defensive mistake to tally her second goal.
A pass got through the John Carroll defense and rolled untouched from the midfield inside the box about 10 yards from the goal mouth.
There, Green won a battle with John Carroll's Suzie Delaney and poked her shot past a sprawling Olsen.
John Carroll's Katie Nietubicz and Carol Metz combined for a spectacular goal to make it 4-3 with five minutes left.
Nietubicz, with her back to the goal, lobbed a right-footed volley over the Saints' defense to Metz, who was waiting about 15 yards out.
Frisch committed herself five yards out, then began a backpedaling retreat that came too late. Metz, also with her back to the goal, headed the ball over Frisch's outstretched hands.
The Patriots became emotionally charged, but the Saints packed their defense into the box and withstood the pressure.
"With the field and their style, we couldn't get the ball up the field rapidly," said John Carroll coach Joe Rehrman. "We had a chance to take the momentum when we tied the game, but they quickly took it back.
"But we'll see them again," he said.