A step or two ahead of Severna Park during most of last night's game, visiting St. Mary's still needed offense in the final seconds to rescue a well-deserved, 9-8 win.
Senior midfielder Morgan Thalenberg provided the game-winner, scoring her second goal of the game from the left side with just 12 seconds left as the Saints answered Severna Park's late-game challenge.
Kelly Coppedge added three goals and goalie Jamie McGraw finished with 13 saves for the Saints, who improved to 5-1 for the season.
St. Mary's set the tempo from the start, getting a goal from Brooke Dieringer off the opening draw and building two- and three-goal leads into the second half.
Down 7-4 midway through the second half, the Falcons (5-2) turned up the defense and started finishing on offense -- getting goals from Kaitlin Hancock, Nicki Barnes and Mindy Boyce -- before St. Mary's had the final word with Thalenberg's shot.
"The first thing you realize is you don't want to turn the ball over," said Thalenberg. "We were able to keep the ball on attack and were smart with our passes. Then the goal came -- it was awesome."
The last goal was indicative of the Saints' entire effort on attack. They were patient on their settled situations, moved well without the ball and got results.
"This was the first game all year long we played as a team and I think we realized what we can do when we play as a team," said St. Mary's coach Erik Bristow.
At the defensive end, McGraw came up with the big save when needed.
"Jamie had an incredible game and that didn't surprise me. She's played great all year long," added Bristow.
The Falcons, who got two goals and an assist from Barnes and two goals from Kate Hickman, left with another frustrating, one-goal loss. On March 31, they dropped an 8-7 decision to state champ Annapolis in the closing seconds.
Severna Park coach Carin Peterson was quick to credit the Saints' effort last night.
"They outplayed us from the get-go," she said. "They had more intensity, hustle and played smarter. We hung in there, but St. Mary's made us look bad."