The game was on the line when Dallastown's Maggie Noll stepped up to the ball for a penalty shot with 2:05 left in regulation.
The Wildcats and Gettysburg were scoreless late in their YAIAA field hockey tournament semifinal when the officials called a Gettysburg player for shoving a Wildcat just to the left of the net. Noll wasn't shoved, but she was the one her teammates selected to take the crucial shot.
Noll stared to the right of the net — like she said she has always done — and then fired the ball to the lower left side of the net, past the Gettysburg goalkeeper.
Noll's shot became the game winner moments later when time expired, and Dallastown defeated Gettysburg, 1-0, to move on to the championship match at 7 p.m. Thursday. The Wildcats will take on Bermudian Springs, a 2-1 winner in overtime against New Oxford in the other semifinal.
"That was probably the best moment of my life," Noll said. "It felt very good. We played them last year, and it was a surprise. We didn't expect them to come out like the way they did, so we were coming back for redemption. We definitely played our hearts out. Every single person on the field played their hearts out."
Gettysburg started the contest by pushing Dallastown back on its heels. Less than a minute into the game, Gettysburg's Emily Spangler rang a shot off the post that came back out. The Warriors kept up the pressure through the midway mark of the half, when Dallastown pushing back and generating some offensive momentum through the second part of the half.
After halftime, Dallastown continued to push and dominated the corners, drawing 13 by the end of the game to Gettysburg's three.
Despite holding the momentum, the Wildcats did not find the back of the net, and the contest looked like it was headed for overtime. That is, until the late penalty gave Noll her time to shine.
It was the first loss of the season for Gettysburg, which won the YAIAA tournament last season, which was its first in the league.
"I just felt if (Noll) made (the penalty shot) it would be the turning point to the game," Dallastown head coach Jeri Myers said.
The victory was extra sweet for the Wildcats, who fell to Gettysburg in last season's YAIAA semifinal. Myers said there was a big emphasis on not repeating the same mistakes as last year.
"Our goal was to beat Gettysburg again and be prepared for them this year," she said. "Last year I think we took it for granted... I tried to keep telling them they're a good team, but sometimes life's lessons are the sad ones. Life isn't always fair and we weren't ready for them. This year we were more prepared. We worked a little bit harder this season."
Dallastown 1, Gettysburg 0
Second half — 1. Dt, Maggie Noll, 2:05
Corners — Dt 13, Get 3
Shots — Dt 3, Get 2
Goalies — Dt, Syd Terroso (2 saves). Get, Judy Neemeyer (2 saves)