The Winston Churchill High School girls soccer team began to celebrate in the 87th minute like it had won Thursday's home game against Quince Orchard.
Senior Jenny Lewis' shot after the ball escaped Cougars sophomore goalie Ricki Shultz's hands had touched the back of the net.
Then a whistle blew: The play was ruled offside.
“No one really knows what the call was,” said Churchill coach Haroot Hakopian. “The goalie was down and the ball rolled past her so Jenny went after it. And it was called offside.”
Less than a minute later the Bulldogs did clinch the 1-0 overtime win with sophomore Natalie Allen's header off of classmate Sarah Johnston's free kick in the 88th minute.
The restart was awarded when Cougars senior forward Lauren Holdsworth received a yellow card for knocking down Churchill senior Zoe Forster in the box.
“Quince Orchard is so well coached and so disciplined we knew it was going to take a good play to beat them,” Hakopian said. “We were one step away so many times and didn't take advantage. You can't keep a team like Quince Orchard in the game for that long because then you're going to have to win it in overtime on one play like that.”
It was only fitting, Hakopian and Keiller agreed, that the tightly contested match would be decided by one single set play.
In a game during which both teams attempted to impose their styles of play on the other, both teams strung together some nice runs.
Though Churchill (4-1) had more dangerous chances in the offensive third — the Bulldogs outshot the Cougars 9-6 — Quince Orchard (3-3) counterattacked well.
“We had a good touch-off here and there, but it's been a problem for us, that last touch,” said Quince Orchard coach Peg Keiller. “It's not just the shot, it's the last touch on a pass before the shot. It's still early in the season. I think we can see the potential is there, that we're able to control parts of the game and string things together. We're just not doing it on a consistent basis right now.”
One thing that was consistent for the Cougars was their defense.
Churchill made a concerted effort to keep the ball along the sidelines in order to stretch Quince Orchard's compact back line, and Shultz came off her line to make several tremendous saves.
“We literally had to go to that channel between the football line and the soccer line to try and spread their defense and expose some sort of gap,” Hakopian said.
Churchill and Quince Orchard are no strangers to one-goal differences. The Bulldogs won last year's match, 3-2.
“I don't think either of us were expecting a 0-0 game,” Keiller said. “I can't remember the last time we had a 0-0 game. But as it went on we knew it was going to come down to one set play.”
Churchill 1, Quince Orchard 0 (OT)
Quince Orchard (3-3) 0 0 0 — 0
Churchill (4-1) 0 0 1 — 1
Churchill — Natalie Allen.
Churchill — Sarah Johnston.