What to do when losing is not an option. Or as in the case of the Council Rock North field hockey team, what to do when you're facing a 1-0 deficit in a must-win duel with sister school South with less than three minutes to go.
In the lady Indians' case, you get a pair of goals — one in regulation and one in overtime — from your center midfielder Madison Gouza and go home with a win. That's what happened Sept. 26 on North's home turf.
"We knew we couldn't lose this one; that was not an option,' said Gouza, afterward. "We really put a lot of pressure on them today. We really wanted this one.'
Despite getting the better of the play in its first duel of the season with South, the Indians found themselves trailing 1-0 on a goal by Hawks senior MF Kristen Miehofer.
Trailing both South and Neshaminy in the Suburban One National League standings after losing a close game to the Redskins recently, North needed at least one goal to send the battle with South into overtime.
"Losing to Neshaminy definitely gave us fuel to the fire and South is a huge rival of us,' said Gouza.
The Indians finally got the equalizer they were looking for at the 2:33 mark on a penalty stroke goal by Gouza, who also tallied the game-winner with six minutes to go in the overtime period.
"There was no other option; I had to put it in an tie it up if we wanted to win the game,' said Madison.
After the goal by Miehofer, the Indians mounted a furious rally that saw shot after shot stopped cold by Hawks goalkeeper Anna Sternberg, who had kept her team in the contest with some outstanding play in front of the cage.
Awarded a penalty corner with three minutes to go when Pennsbury was called for a high-stick in the crease, Gouza made no mistake when she put the first goal of the game past Sternberg.
While both sides missed chances to score in overtime, it was Gouza again, going in on a break off a feed from Gigi Tutoni, deking right and shooting left for the golden goal that locks North in a three-way tie with Neshaminy and CR South.
"I got a great pass from my teammate Gigi and I just wished for the best and shot for the far post like we always do in practice,' said Gouza. "It was a lucky goal; I out it in and we came out on top.'
After putting a penalty stroke into the back of the cage in a recent win over Mount St. Joseph, Gouza said she was confident in her ability to score on the penalty stroke, despite the late deficit her team faced.
"We came out of our timeout and we knew we had to put one in so we just kept putting (offensive pressure) on them
Once we got that stroke — once we scored that, we got momentum. Once we got to overtime, we knew we had to win; we had it in the bag.'
"It was a really nice win.'
The victory by North pushes the Indians to 8-2 overall, 6-1 in the SOL National Conference. Neshaminy — which blanked Pennsbury 2-0 Sept. 26 — and South are also 6-1 at the midway point in the season. The Hawks are 7-3 overall.
Council Rock North 2, Council Rock South 1 (OT)
(Sept. 26 at CR North)
GOALS: K. Miehofer (CRS), M. Gouza [(CRN) 2]
SHOTS: CR North 10, CR South 5
SAVES: Anna Sternberg (CRS) 8; Julia Singer (CRN) 4
CORNERS: CR North 11, CR South 7