Even with her team trailing eighth-ranked St. Mary's by two goals and only 37 seconds left on the clock in yesterday's Friendship Tournament final, Mount de Sales attacker Lisa Banbury said she never lost hope.
"There was no way we were going to lose this game," said Banbury. "We've come way too far for that."
The junior proved to be a prophet.
In breathtaking fashion, the third-ranked Sailors scored four unanswered goals in the final 2: 20 -- including three in the final 37 seconds -- rallying from an 8-5 deficit for a stunning 9-8 win against the Saints.
The victory marked the sixth straight year in which Mount de Sales has won or tied for the tournament championship, and improved their record to 15-0.
But, for players, none of those other wins compare to this one.
"I'm just shocked," said attacker Amy Buck, who led the comeback by scoring two of her game-high five goals within a span of 11 seconds. "I know it's probably been done before, but three goals in 37 seconds is pretty amazing to me, especially since it came against such a great defensive team."
Throughout most of the game, St. Mary's (7-3) used its superior defense and clutch goaltending by Heather Donaldson to fend off the potent Sailors. The Saints held a 20-16 advantage in shots until the final seconds.
But then the bottom dropped out.
Trialing 8-5, the Sailors began to cut into the lead when midfielder Katie O'Connell scored with 2:20 left to make it 8-6.
Still, the host team's fate seemed to be seeled until a remarkable chain of events in the final minute.
On nearly identical plays, Buck scored with 37 seconds and 26 seconds left after winning the draw and racing down the middle of the field for the shot.
Then with the momentum swung in Mount de Sales' way, Banbury scooped a ground ball off the draw, flew down the middle and beat Donaldson for the game-winning goal with 15 seconds left.
"I told them that if that ball went on the ground, I wanted everybody to just go down and scoop for it and then take it right down the middle," said Sailors coach Bill Held, whose team improved to 63-11 since 1991. "Nothing is going to happen just because you wish for it. You have to make it happen."
Said Banbury: "I was just going to score. Nothing was going to stop me."
For St. Mary's, the post-game mood was somber.
"It's extremely disappointing," said St. Mary's coach Tina Lewnes, whose team had led for practically the entire second half. "We lost it at the end. We panicked, and we can't afford to do that against a team that's this fast."
Said Held: "This is not only a win; it's a great win."
In the consolation, attacker Amy Siedgaski scored three goals to lead Archbishop Spalding over the Institute of Notre Dame, 7-5.