Two recent losses, an undefeated opponent, a longstanding rivalry, a four-goal deficit and, finally, a chance to erase it all with an overtime goal.
Nobody tell Emily Rogers-Healion that she was under pressure.
"It was kind of weird," the Ward Melville midfielder said. "We all came out in overtime and we were like, 'we're more calm now than we were in the beginning of the game.' . . . It was like, 'we can do this.' "
Rogers-Healion scored the last three goals for Ward Melville on Friday, including the winner on a free position with 1:47 left in the second overtime, as the Patriots climbed out of a four-goal second-half hole to defeat Bay Shore, 11-10, in the Division I rematch of last year's county final. The Marauders played one, two and, briefly, three girls down from 19:05 left in the second half on, courtesy of six team yellow cards.
"I knew slowly, but surely, we would fight back," Ward Melville coach Kerri Kilkenny said. "I know everyone is going to say, 'oh, they beat them because they were two men up,' but . . . they pulled themselves together, they held their composure and they really preformed at a high level they were supposed to."
Even with the disadvantage, Bay Shore (9-1) scored two straight with a man down, from Amanda Voges and Kyra Harney, to take a 7-3 lead with 17:18 left in regulation. The fifth yellow, with 11:02 left in the second, proved nearly backbreaking, though, as the Patriots (8-2) went out to close the period on a 5-2 run. Ally Tilley's free position with 5:33 to go tied the score at 8, and Rogers-Healion's sidearm missile a minute later gave Ward Melville the advantage.
Bay Shore's Cynthia DelCore scored on a crease-roll bouncer with 3:42 left to force OT, and, with eight seconds left in the first period, Katie Kirk took the feed from DelCore and scored on a 4-meter blast -- good for a 10-9 lead. But strong play from Bay Shore's Shianne Judson and Ward Melville's Emily Ross, the dueling goalies, quashed four other overtime attempts. Ross' contributions in particular gave Rogers-Healion room to work. Her score on Maddy Wollmuth's assist tied the score.
"She came up huge," Rogers-Healion said of Ross, who finished with 11 saves. "She was probably the leading force for us in this game."
Particularly since Ward Melville was forced to play conservatively after the unending spate of yellow cards (the Patriots also got one). Intentional or not, the new pace helped calm a team that Rogers-Healion said was originally "frantic."
"We want to show that people were kind of underestimating us," Rogers-Healion said. "We lost a few games, but we're in this."