A whack from a stick left Century's Stefany Zile icing a throbbing, swollen right hand during halftime of yesterday's field hockey game at North Carroll, but by the end of the game, Zile's hand didn't hurt at all.
The junior forward scored the game-winning goal in overtime to boost the No. 6 Knights over previously unbeaten and No. 15 North Carroll, 2-1, with 4:22 left in seven-on-seven sudden death.
The Knights outshot the Panthers 20-3 in regulation, but it took one shot on a breakaway for Century to finally win. Zile and Kelly Burgoyne got the jump on the Panthers near midfield. On the give-and-go, Burgoyne fed Zile for a shot past Panthers goalie Becca Markle, who had already made 16 saves.
"The adrenaline was rushing and I knew we had to get it in there," said Zile. "The goalie was right in the center. I was trying to get it to one of the corners, but it went through her legs."
Panthers coach Denean Koontz said the Knights used a proven strategy for the reduced-player overtime.
"When you're playing six-a-side [plus goalies], that's where the majority of goals are going to come from," she said. "You look to send the ball long and get the ball up the field as fast as you possibly can."
Burgoyne also came up big on defense early in overtime when she rushed out of the cage to break up two penalty corners, blocking a powerful shot from Mandy Pickard, and then keeping Pickard from taking a shot.
The Knights learned a lesson from last week's 1-0 overtime loss to Mount Hebron, when they left a player open on the post, said Burgoyne. This time, they made sure to keep everyone covered.
"[Against Mount Hebron], we left the wings open, and it's easy for them to dribble down the sideline," said Bugoyne.
The Panthers led for much of the game, pulling ahead in the first 10 minutes when Ashlea Carl scored on a penalty-corner feed from Caitlin Greene.
The Knights needed a penalty stroke to tie. Shannon Watt, who played for North Carroll last fall before transferring, nailed the stroke with 17:57 left.
Century (9-2) remains unbeaten in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League Chesapeake Division, while the Panthers (7-1) drop to 2-1 in the division. Both teams are 4-1 in Carroll County.