URBANA — They sang happy birthday to Linganore girls soccer coach Paige Pohopin on Thursday night.
There are no visible gray hairs on her head yet. But, at the rate the Lancers are going, a few might soon begin to pop through.
Linganore won its third overtime game of the season and second of the week right before serenading Pohopin.
The team’s latest adventure played out as a 1-0 overtime win over Urbana that was decided with 7 minutes, 15 seconds to play in the extra session when leading scorer Mandy Hill capitalized on a defensive breakdown by the Hawks and simply had to steer her shot into an empty net.
“My heart was pounding,” said Hill, the younger sister of former Linganore standout Montanna Hill.
She made sure to take her time with her shot and not miss a wide-open net.
Pohopin was happy to accept the win as a birthday present, as her team improved to 8-0 this season. Earlier in the week, the Lancers pulled out a 1-0 overtime win over previously undefeated Oakdale when senior midfielder Gemma Davies scored with 3:30 left in the second of two 10-minute extra periods.
Linganore also earned a 3-2 overtime win over Walkersville on Sept. 14.
“Honestly, they are great under pressure,” Pohopin said of her players. “We always seem to struggle in the first half. They come together in the second and, in overtime, they really come together as a team.”
To generate the scoring chance, the Lancers came out of their more defensive 4-5-1 alignment and pushed a few players forward into a 4-4-2.
“We needed a scoring opportunity, and our 4-4-2 is a lot more attack-minded,” Pohopin said. “Our top two scoring players are [sophomore] Ava [Taylor] and Mandy [a junior] ... We just happened to capitalize on a mistake, which we knew there was going to be one, and we happened to get the lucky opportunity.”
Prior to that, the teams had traded scoring opportunities and periods of pressure. Linganore seemed to have more in the first half, while Urbana created more chances in the second.
Hawks coach Keith Bauer, meanwhile, has turned into an amateur psychologist for his players, who suffered their third overtime loss in the span of a week.
Urbana dropped a 3-2 decision to then-unbeaten Oakdale last Thursday in overtime before falling the following night to unbeaten Tuscarora 1-0 in an extra session.
“What we have been focusing on is we are playing well,” Bauer said. “I mean, you are taking all of those teams, everyone of them was undefeated when we played them, and you are taking them to overtime. I told the girls that shows you are playing at a good level.”
He added, “We are playing well. It’s just when you don’t finish those scoring chances, it comes back to haunt you.”