WCAC field hockey: Holy Cross rallies to beat Good Counsel in overtime for tournament title

The streak was less than five minutes from ending, but Sandra Durbin and her Holy Cross teammates weren’t ready to let it go.

The Tartans entered Saturday’s Washington Catholic Athletic Conference field hockey final as the four-time defending league champions, but were reeling after two Good Counsel goals put them on the brink of their first tournament loss in five years.

“I was doubting us a little,” Durbin, a sophomore midfielder, said. “But I knew that somehow we were going to get through it and come out with a win.”

Durbin proved prophetic, as Holy Cross scored twice in the final 4 minutes 26 seconds of regulation, including Durbin’s game-tying goal with one minute left. Freshman forward Kate Taylor then scored the game-winner 2:58 into sudden-death overtime to give the Tartans a stunning 3-2 win over rival Good Counsel at the University of Maryland.

Holy Cross (13-9) has won five consecutive WCAC titles, four straight tournament finals against Good Counsel (8-10) and 27 straight conference games overall.

“I haven’t seen anything like that in 20 years,” Holy Cross Coach Jenna Ries said of the late comeback. “This is just crazy.”

Holy Cross — which graduated seven seniors from last season and was without both returning All-Met senior forward Hannah Suttle and senior Christina McCarthy for nearly the entire year because of injuries — struggled to take control Saturday, and managed just one shot in a scoreless first half despite earning four penalty corners.

Good Counsel dominated most of the second half and took a 1-0 lead with 26:13 to play in regulation when a shot by senior Sammi Wilson deflected toward senior Angela Pannunzio, who slammed it in from the left of the goal mouth.

Less than five minutes later, Falcons sophomore Mallory Fox scored her fifth goal of the tournament off a rebound, and Good Counsel suddenly had Holy Cross on its heels with about 18 minutes to play.

“Our team has amazing heart,” Good Counsel Coach Theda Bagdon said. “We were the third seed and we weren’t even supposed to be here.”

Holy Cross had limited scoring opportunities for most of the rest of regulation, but a scramble in front of the Good Counsel net led to the first late goal by Tartans junior Kristin Bengston.

Durbin’s equalizer came after the Tartans’ sixth penalty corner, when she fanned on her initial shot but found the back of the cage on her second attempt.

A Good Counsel yellow card left the Tartans with an extra attacker early in overtime, and Taylor deflected Durbin’s long shot into the net to complete the comeback and ignite a Tartans celebration for a fifth straight title they almost didn’t win.

“I can’t even describe how I’m feeling right now,” Taylor said afterward. “I’m just so proud of my team.”

 
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