Regulation had just run out as the Good Counsel field hockey team gathered in the center of the field for a huddle. The captains pulled the Falcons together and asked: “We have 10 minutes; do we really want to wait that long?”
Good Counsel needed seven minutes of overtime to tip in the game-winning goal and beat Holy Cross, 2-1, to capture the WCAC title at the University of Maryland.
Elaine McCabe’s tap into the back of the net ended a five-year run of titles for the Tartans — and snapped an equally long stretch of runner-up finishes for Good Counsel (12-4-1).
“After they said that, the team looked at each other and said ‘No, let’s end this and bring it home,’ ” Coach Theda Bagdon said.
The Tartans (10-7) nearly had a game-winner in the final 90 seconds of regulation, but Kristen Bengston’s high drive to the left side was waved off.
In the extra period, McCabe was able to draw Holy Cross goalie Kathleen Mauck out of the goal with 2:58 before finding the net that gave the Falcons an elusive championship.
Players carried the trophy around the College Park turf, then doused Bagdon with a cooler of water. McCabe sat on the field icing her shin, an injury sustained in the celebration dog pile.
Holy Cross beat Good Counsel, 3-0, during the regular season, but the Falcons may have psyched themselves out in that first meeting, Bagdon said, because of the rivalry and competitiveness between the two schools.
“We treated them as if they’re any other team as opposed to being our arch-rival this game,” she said. “This is the big game, it doesn’t matter who we are playing.”
This year’s squad has had a certain chemistry, “something magical and I felt it from tryouts,” Bagdon added.
They were able to keep to their brand of hockey—confront, recover and communicate—and that’s what allowed them to hold of a speedy Tartan squad.
“This year, we came out stronger and focused,” McCabe said. “We really focused on winning the championship. We didn’t let anything get to our heads.”