When fourth-ranked Mount Hebron scored the go-ahead goal with 10.6 seconds left in overtime, Marriotts Ridge senior Zoe Stukenberg thought her team had lost. When the No. 5 Mustangs beat the buzzer with a game-tying goal, Stukenberg knew Marriotts Ridge had some help from the heavens.
“With two seconds left, we kind of, you know, said a prayer and said, you know what? I believe,” Stukenberg said moments after the Mustangs pulled out a thrilling 13-12, quadruple-overtime win. “That was the big man upstairs. . . . That was luck. That was a lot of hard work and a lot of luck.”
“Was that unbelievable or what?” she added through a breathless smile.
After trailing by three midway through the second half, the game’s waning moments belonged to Marriotts Ridge (11-0, 9-0 Howard County) — specifically Stukenberg. It was the senior attacker who scored the tying goal off a free position restart with just more than a minute left in the second half.
And it was Stukenberg who assisted junior Jenna Kerr on the buzzer-beating, game-saving goal at the end of the first overtime.
When it came time to finish off the victory, the ball again found its way into Stukenberg’s stick. The Maryland recruit weaved her way through the defense and fired the ball past the Mount Hebron goalie to seal the sudden-death win in the game’s fourth overtime and keep Marriotts Ridge’s undefeated season alive.
“Some days it’s working for everyone else. Today it was working for me, so I figured why not, I’ll just take it,” Stukenberg said.
As the clock wound down in the first extra period Friday night, the scene seemed set for Mount Hebron senior Sam Brookhart to be the hero. Brookhart scored the go-ahead goal for the Vikings (10-2, 8-1) with just over 10 seconds to go in the first overtime, putting Mount Hebron up 12-11 with a shot fired from an almost impossibly wide angle.
Brookhart’s six goals tied her for a game-high with Stukenberg.
Friday’s game was a reprisal of each of the last two Maryland 3A/2A East Region finals, which the teams split. Two years ago, it was Marriotts Ridge that won the region en route to a 2011 state championship. Last year, the roles were reversed as the Vikings beat the Mustangs on their way to a championship.
“I have no voice and I’m exhausted,” Marriotts Ridge Coach Natalie Gaieski said. “We always fight. It’s always a blood-bath. It could be anybody’s game. You got to give credit to both teams. Both played amazing. All kids fought, I didn’t see anyone on either team quit. It was intense.”