The birthday celebration came a little early for Germantown Academy's Riley Yankowich.
The senior forward played the hero a day before her birthday Friday, latching onto a long ball and burying the game-winning goal three minutes from time to lead GA to a 3-2 Inter-Ac win over Agnes Irwin.
The host Owls had gone up 2-0 inside of 28 minutes thanks to goals from Hannah Keating and Laura Pansini, but that only set the stage for the Patriots' fight back.
Emilia Dolaway capitalized on a defensive error five minutes from halftime to get the Patriots on the board. They drew even in the 57th minute when Olivia Gorman fed KerryAnn Lawlor for a breakaway goal.
Then came Yankowich's game-winner. Off a goal kick, Gorman flicked on a header into the path of Yankowich, who took a touch and fired a shot low and past Agnes Irwin goalkeeper Autumn Wedderburn.
"I think in the second half, we really picked it up,' Yankowich said. "I was looking for the second ball after Olivia headed it over the defense. And I knew the sun was a big factor for that side of the field. I just took my chances and ran with it. I saw an open shot and I took it.'
The Owls struggled to get much offense going in the second half. Part of the problem was having to play into the sun at Forbes Field, making it difficult to even find goal after halftime.
"I think that we kind of lost our momentum for a little bit and it was hard to get back,' Keating said. "We need to work harder at not getting cocky in the first half and work our hardest to get it back.'
It was Keating who appeared to put the Owls in the driver's seat in the 28th minute, stealing a pass in midfield, taking a couple of dribbles and firing a shot into the net. Keating's free-kick delivery — on a foul questionably drawn by Kirstin Burnetta on the edge of the penalty area — caused chaos in the box leading to the second goal. Germantown Academy goalkeeper Katherine Stambaugh (seven saves) couldn't corral it, and Pansini cleaned up the mess for the goal.
The win gives Germantown Academy a chance at a share of an Inter-Ac title if it can win out. For Agnes Irwin (13-3-1, 7-2-1), the defeat means its first losing streak of the season and precious little time to change the momentum.
"I think we really just need to want it,' Keating said. "We have the skills, we have the players, we have everything. We just need to have to more heart. We've got to go out every game thinking we're going to win the Inter-Ac.'