For a brief second, Marblehead High School field hockey coach Linda Collins and her players thought they were heading for overtime in their postseason opener in Wilmington.
Wildcat goalie Casey Herra, however, had other ideas.
Herra used the front of her mask to knock wide a desperation shot by Hannah Fobert as time expired in the second half, sealing a 1-0 victory for Wilmington and eliminating the Magicians at Alumni Stadium for a second straight year.
“We all thought it had gone in,” said Collins. “That had been a planned play. I had taken some kids out of the game and we talked about it on the sidelines and knew what we were going to do. They pulled it off flawlessly. I thought it was going to go in. It was a valiant effort.”
Marblehead played the Wildcats scoreless almost into the half, but Wilmington cracked the scoreboard with less than a minute to play until the intermission on what would turn out to be the only tally of the game.
The Magicians put together a few strong scoring chances, but were turned away each time by Herra and the Wildcat defense.
On the final play of the game, however, Herra said it wasn’t skill she necessarily had to thank for saving the game.
“I didn’t really know what to think,” said Herra. “It kind of bounced off my foot and into my face. I think we got a little lucky. But I think our hard work paid off that whole game.”
Despite the loss, Collins was impressed with the season her team put together.
“I thought they had an extremely good season,” said the Marblehead mentor. “We hit a bump in the raod in the middle. But we regrouped, refocused and they came out strong the rest of the way.”