FAIRVIEW VILLAGE — Two PAC-10 Liberty Division contenders went blow-for-blow in an overtime thriller on Monday afternoon.
For Perkiomen Valley, its final blow was the decisive one.
With the clock ticking down and a tie looming, Rachel Hamm blasted a shot from the left of the circle past Methacton keeper Sammi Steele and into the bottom right corner of the cage with 31 seconds remaining in the overtime frame, propelling the Vikings to a 2-1 victory in the league contest.
"It felt really good,' Hamm said. "We dominated most of the game so it was good that we wound up winning.'
"It would really stink to lose after we won so many in a row,' freshman goalkeeper Miranda Wesley added.
With an undefeated mark at stake in the young season, the Vikings' tenacity gleamed in the early-going. Mara Wrzesniewski and the Perk Valley defense kept Methacton star forward Alexa Hoover at bay while the offense sent a fury of shots in the direction of Steele.
Benefitting from some quick saves by Steele, Methacton regained some of the momentum in the middle stages of the first half, but couldn't keep possession as a choppy field made passes go errant and shots go wide.
The Vikings, facing the same difficulties as the Warriors, cashed in first. Laura Shelton was in the right place at the right time as a shot in the box from Kelsey Geise ricocheted off of a sliding Steele and right onto the stick of Shelton who sent it into the cage, giving the Vikings a 1-0 advantage with seven minutes remaining in the half.
"I think Geise was the best player on the field today,' Enters said.
The score remained the same thanks to some heroics from Steele.
Following a Perk Valley corner with four minutes remaining in the frame, Shelton was on the backdoor looking to bury home a rebound that could have put PV up two. However, Steele dove across the box and made a nice beautiful stick save to deny the Shelton attempt.
"She made some huge saves,' Methacton head coach Sarah Quintois said. "It could have been a much different game if it wasn't for her.'
The tale of the second half was strikingly similar in the early stages.
Perk Valley controlled the pace of play in the first ten minutes, applying pressure to Steele and the Methacton defense.
But Methacton countered.
With the clock ticking past the 20-minute mark in the second half, the Warriors started to land blows on a suddenly lethargic Vikings squad.
"We didn't start off the way we liked, we were OK,' Quintois said. "We really started to take it to them in the second half and it wasn't too late at that point but if we played that way the whole game it could have been different.'
"I think we let down a little bit,' Hamm said. "After the break we were like ' We have this,' and then we realized when they came back out they were pushing a lot harder than they were before.'
Hoover and sophomore Emily Sayre were the key catalysts in the intensity change. The duo and the rest of the Methacton front line started applying the pressure to Wesley, who only faced one shot on goal in the first half. Wesley remained up to the task until Emily Sayre took a long feed and raced down the field, leaving Perk Valley players in the dust as she buried home the equalizer with 11:46 left in the game.
"Sayre really worked hard today,' Quintois. "She really improved from last year and her speed was dominant today. She was getting to balls and she really took over the attack.'
Both teams weathered each other's attacks in the waning moments of regulation as Methacton overcame three corner tries by Perk Valley to send the match into overtime.
The overtime period displayed the same back-and-forth action as the previous halves.
With less than eight minutes to play in the overtime period, Hoover sent the ball into the box where, after a little bit of clashing sticks, the ball rebounded in the direction of Wesley. Wesley lost the ball beneath her pads but kicked it out in the nick of time.
"Our goalie came up big in overtime,' Enters said. "She had a couple really nice saves and put some pressure on Hoover.'
The Vikings countered with pressure at the other end, but couldn't capitalize until Hamm buried home the dagger in the closing moments of the overtime period.
Steele finished the game with 13 saves for the Warriors.
Wesley, who has backstopped every game for Perk Valley this season, finished the game with six saves.
"I'm used to some of the hard shots but it's still hard (to stop them),' Wesley said. " You have to have the skill.'
"I was real pleased with our freshman goalie, she's 4-0, and how do you beat that?' said Enters.
Improving to 5-0 could answer that question for Enters, as the Vikings travel to Boyertown on Wednesday.
Follow Sam Stewart on Twitter @Samuel_Stewart.