When the buzzer sounded, Nicole Hill threw her fist in the air in celebration and immediately embraced her McDaniel teammates.
Two Centennial Conference threats -- Gettysburg and Johns Hopkins -- were unbeaten by McDaniel through the duration of Hill's career. The senior midfielder had had enough.
The No. 22-ranked Green Terror used a two-goal advantage early in the first half to overcome No. 16 Johns Hopkins 3-2 for the first time in 20 years. Hill notched a goal and an assist, sophomore forward Kirsten Gibson scored and senior midfielder Christina Wroblewski added a helper in the win.
"I think we work hard during practice and that gave us time to really get it together this year," Hill said. "We were like 'Let's do it, it's our time' and especially since it's my senior year, I said we're really going to do it."
McDaniel (14-1-1, 7-0-1 Centennial) is third in the latest NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic rankings and Hopkins (12-2-2, 7-1) sits just above the Green Terror in the No. 2 spot. The national rankings come from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's top 25 poll.
Just under six minutes in, Hill sent a pass up the midfield to Gibson who guided it to goal. The ball hit off of Hopkins keeper Clara Aranguren's hands into the back of the net.
It didn't take long for McDaniel to answer again when Hill carried a pass up through the middle from Wroblewski for a second tally. The Green Terror defense worked the field and the Blue Jays faced trouble executing their shots until the lasting seconds of the half.
Hopkins senior midfielder Ana Bengoechea shot low off a helper from freshman midfielder Maggie Coulson that McDaniel junior keeper Sarah McDonald couldn't get a hand on.
"The wind played a big factor Saturday and we knew it would play a factor today," Terror coach Sandy Lagana said. "That's what we talked about at halftime. I knew they were disappointed that we gave up a goal late in the first half but we were up a goal against the wind so we knew the second half would be a little bit more in our favor with the wind at our backs."
The second half started the Green Terror's way less than a minute from the opening kick. Hill found Gibson in the center for a 3-1 lead but the Blue Jays responded with 23:22 to go that cut the deficit to one. McDaniel stiffened on defense and didn't allow the ball to cross the midfield in the final two minutes.
"When we're up a goal we try to gain control and keep it in their half so we can lock it in on this side and not give them opportunities to counter on us," Gibson said. "That's a whole team effort in keeping it on their half."
This game looked almost too familiar for the Green Terror. Last year, they were up by one with 10 minutes left and ended up losing 3-2. This time was different, and McDaniel ended a 21-game losing streak against Hopkins.
McDonald, the Centennial's reigning defensive player of the week, made eight saves. It is her fourth straight week with the honor, and she has nine shutouts on the season.
The Green Terror will earn the top seed in the upcoming Centennial Conference playoffs if they beat Washington College on Saturday.
"I think we've gotten experience this whole season about how to prepare," Hill said. "There are teams that play a high line, teams that play a deep line. We know that Washington College will probably pack it in but we've seen everything that every other team has to offer.
"It doesn't matter who we play, as long as we know we bring our best, we know that we will do our best and so far our best is to come out and win."
This article was written by Megan Woodward from Carroll County Times, Westminster, Md. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.