Shannon Gallagher scored the championship-winning goal by accident.
With less than nine minutes to play in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title game at the University of Maryland on Friday, the Holy Cross senior attacker made a run down the right side of the field as junior Cristina McCarthy played a ball into the circle.
“It was a bit of a surprise,” Gallagher said. “I just wanted to save it really. I wasn’t trying to get it directly into the goal.”
Regardless of her intentions, Gallagher got a touch on the ball, and it then deflected off a Good Counsel defender’s stick and into the cage to break a 1-1 tie with 8:46 left in regulation.
Holy Cross (16-5) held on to win 2-1, wrapping up its fourth consecutive WCAC field hockey championship, and its third straight championship game win against rival Good Counsel (9-7).
“This definitely means everything to me,” said Holy Cross senior goalkeeper Jill Genovese, a two-time All-Met who will play at Maryland next year. “We ended [the season] playing incredible, and I’m so happy with this finish.”
Holy Cross controlled play throughout the game, but Good Counsel limited the Tartans’ scoring chances early even as the Tartans dominated possession.
Neither team had a shot on net when Good Counsel scored a surprising first goal with 15:01 left in the first half.
Holy Cross had shut out 12 of its last 14 opponents, and hadn’t trailed in any WCAC game all year.
“I was a little bit nervous, because we were shaky for some reason,” Holy Cross Coach Jenna Ries said. “We’d gotten a little bit used to being able to control the game.”
Sophomore forward Kelly Kuzma answered for Holy Cross a little more than three minutes later, when she scored on a long shot from the left side of the cage after a long rebound kicked out to her.
Holy Cross had restored order, but Good Counsel held tough and kept the game tied even as the Tartans’ scoring opportunities increased in the second half.
“We played them extremely tight and tough,” Good Counsel Coach Martie Dyer said. “That speaks to how much we’ve gelled.”
Holy Cross took nine shots and had eight penalty corners, but it took a broken play from Gallagher to finally break the tie and secure the championship.
“We never stopped. We wanted to push hard the entire time,” Gallagher said. “We knew we weren’t going to lose this game, so we just pushed all the way until we scored the last goal.”