Another day, another giant to slay.
Fresh off a 2-1 victory over Severna Park Tuesday that ended the Falcons' unbeaten streak at 57 games, the Old Mill girls soccer team ran head-on into another formidable challenger Friday night.
No rest for the weary. And no loss, either.
Behind an early first-half goal from senior Terri Bogle, the host Patriots downed previously undefeated Chesapeake, 1-0, to finish the regular season at 12-0.
The result seemingly holds little significance, other than leaving the victor with an undefeated regular-season record and some extra momentum heading into this week's regional playoffs.
The new divisional format even eliminates a county champion. Instead, Old Mill garnered the Friendship Division title with a 5-0 record, compared to 3-1-1 for Chesapeake.
"The first year there's no official county title and we win it," joked Patriots coach Bruce Sponsler. "But it's an unofficial title. I told the kids the team with the best record wins it."
That would be Old Mill, thanks primarily to Bogle, who scored both of the Patriots' goals in the victory over Severna Park.
"The first few games, she had a couple opportunities to score and missed them. But she's the kind of player who, with her fight and desire,just needed a little time. We knew she would win some games for us,"Sponsler said.
Both teams have won plenty of games this season, giving them the top seeding in their respective regions: Old Mill in 4A/3A II and Chesapeake (10-1-1) in 4A/3A III.
The Patriots' meet Franklin of Baltimore County at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Old Mill, and Sponsler hasn't forgotten that the Indians defeated his team in a shootout in the region finals three years ago.
The Cougars, meanwhile, entertain South River at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
In his sixth season at Old Mill, Sponsler is seeking his third state championship, and the first since 1987. Chesapeake has yet to attain such a milestone.
This year's Cougar team should make a strong push. Going into Friday's game, it had allowed six goals all season, including a 3-3 tie with Severna Park Oct. 18. It had yielded single goals in three other victories, including a 2-1 decision over South River Oct. 1.
Chesapeake has won primarily with its defense, even with senior fullback Deanna Castle injuring a knee early in the year and missing two games.
She now wears a heavy brace on the knee, but "makes up for her lack of speed with her intelligence," said Cougars coach Lin Sullivan.
"Weexpected our offense to be very productive, and in a sense it has been. But it's been the defense that has kept us close," Sullivan said.
A unit that also includes standout fullback Nancy Yeager and keeper Cindy Herbert couldn't prevent Bogle's game-winning goal off a Lisa Gallicchio corner kick at 8 minutes, 37 seconds.
Herbert got a piece of Bogle's shot, but it still trickled into the net.
"That was no fluky play," Sullivan said. "Whenever you score on a corner kick, there's work that goes into that."
Sponsler said, "We have two set plays on corner kicks and that was one of them. Bogle was right where she was supposed to be, and it was a perfect corner kick.
"We didn't think one goal would hold up, but it did."
Helping keep Chesapeake at bay was a strategy implemented by Sponsler that had halfbacks Amy Tolley and Cindy Parulis marking the Cougars' fleet-footed Stacey Necessary and Melissa Wagner.
The early lead also enabled Sponsler to substitute more freely than Sullivan, keeping the Patriots fresher.
And in the end, making them "unofficially" the best girls soccer team in the county.