Before this season started, Western's girls soccer team set two primary goals -- to go unscored upon and to win the Baltimore City championship.
The Doves could not quite reach their first goal, but yesterday's 1-0 double-overtime win against next-door neighbor Poly gives them an excellent chance of achieving the second.
Freshman striker Kacie Ruark scored the game-winner in the 97th minute to boost the Doves (4-2-1 overall) to 4-0-1 in the city league race, where they are the only unbeaten team. Poly (4-3) dropped to 2-2.
The Doves had a little extra incentive to post their fourth shutout after drawing with defending city champ City, 1-1, on Tuesday. That is the only goal the Doves have yielded to a city foe this season.
"We don't like to lose to Poly or City," said defender Star Tazwell, who made several key plays to cut off Poly's speedy striker Clare Odell on the break. "The first time we played Poly, it was like, `We're going to win this.' Today it was, `We have to win.' "
With Tazwell and her fellow defenders limiting Poly to six shots on goal during regulation and the Engineers' defense holding off 17 Doves shots -- 15 saved by keeper Elise Victoria -- the game appeared headed for a scoreless tie.
Ruark, who had narrowly missed scoring on a couple of headers, one late in regulation and the other earlier in the second 10-minute sudden-death overtime period, finally got the break that led to the Doves' victory.
"We got a little lucky, but I really wanted to get that goal," said Ruark.
About 10 yards straight out from the goal, Sigrid Paulus went up in a crowd and headed a short pass that caught the Engineers' defense and Victoria off-guard. When the pass dropped between two defenders and rolled toward the goal, Ruark slipped between two defenders and nailed the shot to Victoria's right.
"Our defense fell apart a little and I was out of position. That header was a real surprise," said Victoria, a sophomore and first-year starter who, with two saves in overtime, finished with 17.
The victory is especially significant for the Doves, because there is no city championship game this season.
Whichever team emerges with the best record in the league will be declared city champ. Unbeaten with two wins over Poly puts the Doves in good position to reclaim the title that City has held for the past three years.
Postponement: Yesterday's girls soccer game between No. 3 John Carroll and No. 4 Institute of Notre Dame was postponed because the Indians' home field -- Sen. Joseph S. Bonvegna Field in Canton -- was unplayable. One of the goals had been taken away to be replaced.