As Chesapeake assistant coach Earl Eckhardt watched his victorious players converge at midfield following Friday's girls lacrosse game atSeverna Park, he shook his head and muttered, "Streaks don't end easy."
Especially when the streak spans 57 games and belongs to a four-time defending state champion.
The Cougars ended Severna Park's celebrated run by scoring with one second left in regulation to force overtime, then withstanding a late Falcons' rally to prevail, 17-16.
The victory meant sole possession of first place in the 4A League, but that seemed irrelevant. Finally, someone had found a way to beat Severna Park.
But it wasn'teasy. Who expected it would be?
Severna Park raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first three minutes, and later went ahead, 13-12, with just under three minutes left in regulation.
Senior attacker Diane McBee converted a free position shot as time expired to tie the score,13-13, and added two goals in overtime to cap a brilliant performance.
McBee finished with eight goals, giving her 36 on the season. None were bigger than the one that extended play another six minutes.
She knew how much time was left as play continued -- four seconds -- and where she was going to put the ball.
"I really had a dream last night I was going to shoot it right where I shot it -- in the bottom non-stick (left) side, and it went in," she said.
McBee wasn't the lone hero. Senior attacker Julie Smith scored five goals, and senior keeper Michele Julian made 10 saves.
Julian stopped a Hillary Kuker shot in the final minute of regulation, and Kuker (five goals, one assist) followed by hitting the top pipe with another hard offering to keep Chesapeake within one goal, 13-12.
Two other Severna Park shots hit the posts in overtime, and another struck Cougars defender Sherri Malloy in the shoulder. But some of the most promising attempts wound up in Julian's stick.
Not that Julian gave herself rave reviews afterward. Or even mild praise.
"I didn't have the greatest game. In fact, it's probably the worst this season. But our offense came through," she said.
McBee scored on a free position shot 40 seconds into overtime to give Chesapeake a 14-13 lead. The Cougarscontrolled the ensuing draw, and Natalie Buritsch raced downfield, stumbled, but still managed to fire a shot past Falcons keeper Sonya Muhly (12 saves).
The lead grew to 17-14, before Severna Park's Tanya Simmon and Nicki Cecere scored to again leave the teams one goal apart.
That's how the game would end, as the Cougars stretched their own winning streak to 13 games and raised their record to 8-0 overall, 6-0 in the league. Severna Park is 7-1 and 4-1.
"We had our chances, but we let it slip away, especially toward the end of the second half," said Falcons coach Carin Peterson.
McBee said, "I reallythink it was who wanted it more and who wasn't intimidated by the other."
Holly Roessler scored three goals for Severna Park. Erin Wylde and Stephanie Roberts added two goals each, and Lizzy Warfield andAmy Carnaggio had one apiece.
Marlene Pyles, Denise Perrone and Julie Henne each scored one goal for Chesapeake.
"The teams were very well balanced," said Cougars coach Jim Buchan. "We just did one more thing."