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Palmyra girls lacrosse clips Cedar Crest 10-9

PALMYRA - Monday's clock ticked under two minutes, her season's timer quickly whittled down to just 100, and Palmyra's Hannah Marx suddenly occupied the same space her team does in the greater picture.

The middle; caught between where it's been and where it wants to go, a limbo best represented by the standings and known to many a growing program.

Similarly there stood Marx on attack, after a won draw control, seeking an open cutter, who would hopefully score and win the game. But no Cougar could claw free, and so stuck with the ball, Marx jetted herself open and fired the game-winner.

With two games left and its first-ever winning campaign now within reach, Palmyra is very much aiming to follow her lead.

Marx's goal at 1:40 left pushed the Cougars ahead for good in a 10-9 victory over Cedar Crest that opened the final week of their regular season. Palmyra (7-8, 2-2 Mid-Penn Keystone) is next scheduled to welcome Mechanicsburg and Lewisburg over the coming days, while the Falcons wrap up 2016 on a sour note despite four different multiple goal-scorers.

Lexie Eberly's hat trick led Cedar Crest (4-14, 2-9 Lancaster-Lebanon), which also received four points courtesy of Riley Blatt. Cougars junior Cheyenne Sprecher whipped up a game-high five goals, including four before halftime. Palmyra dominated possession at the outset and conclusion of play.

"We were all about composure," Cougars coach Jennifer Lutz said. "We capitalized on our possession near the end of the game ... I think we have what it takes to (win out). We just have to show up ready to play and we'll be all right."

Two immediate Sprecher scores demonstrated Palmyra's preparedness Monday, though Cedar Crest did not wait long to deliver a counter, staking a one-goal edge midway through the first half. That registered as the first of four lead changes, and the second arrived when Sprecher again scored for a 5-4 lead shortly before the break.

Three straight Falcon goals during the second half then washed out her efforts and a preceding Nikki Bowman goal, as Cedar Crest soared to a 7-6 advantage at 10:30 to go. But a matching stream of Palmyra scores over the next 90 seconds, including two in transition, reversed course for the white and black.

"We were hoping to get the draw controls, so we were pushed up. But we should've stopped the breakaways," Falcons coach Emma Lebo said. "It's hard to stop them, but we had people back there."

Eberly and Blatt later answered for Cedar Crest, helped by a couple free-position opportunities.

But Palmyra, which topped division rival Lower Dauphin in similar nail-biting fashion Thursday, knew what to do. Control their nerves and the draws.

"It was similar to the LD game when we had to stay calm and be patient with it. We just did that again. We didn't press," Marx said. "They and LD, I think, came in thinking this was going to be a cakewalk."

But the Falcons left with a different idea; One that many across the area will soon share if the Cougars continue rolling into new program history.