Lower Dauphin nearly won the District Three Class 3A field hockey semifinals Wednesday night at Penn Manor on the very last tick of the fourth-quarter clock.
But after it was decided that an apparent winning goal was actually one tick after regulation ended, the Comets had a chance to advance to the district final in the seven-on-seven overtime.
Penn Manor had the first shot on goal of the extra session, but much like regulation, Lower Dauphin had the majority of scoring chances and eventually cashed in first.
Avery Pollock scored off a rebound with 6:29 left in the second overtime session to give the Falcons a 2-1 win over Penn Manor and a spot in the district final opposite Wilson. The Comets (19-4) will face Manheim Township in the third-place game, a rematch of the Lancaster-Lebanon League championship game Penn Manor won two weeks ago.
Comet goalie Adeline Arkhurst made a nice save of a high shot by Ellie DeHart, but the rebound caromed to Pollock, who put the ball low into the cage for the winner.
Penn Manor escaped the first half in the 0-0 tie with no corners and two shots on goal before intermission, while the Falcons (17-3-1) had five and six, respectively.
“Defensively, they were coming in twos, which was difficult for us to get around,” Penn Manor head coach Rachel Suter said.
The Comets found their offensive rhythm in the third quarter. They had their first corner early in the period, and though a deflected shot went high of the cage, it foreshadowed success to come.
In the last minute of the third, a breakaway by Avery Bradburn into the circle set up Izzy Thatcher for a shot. Thatcher’s attempt went behind Lower Dauphin goalie Payton Killian and hit a Falcon defender on the arm. That resulted in a penalty stroke, taken by Cait McGough, who put the ball in the lower left of the cage for a 1-0 lead with 28 seconds left in the third.
“That was some good passing up the field,” Suter said. “It was a big momentum changer for us.”
Lower Dauphin evened the score with 9:10 remaining in the fourth quarter when Dani Murphy scored on a corner play.
Twice in the fourth period, the Falcons put the ball in the net for apparent go-ahead scores, but each was disallowed. With eight minutes left, a shot was deflected into the net, but the play had been whistled down for a dangerous ball.
More controversial was a shot that rolled in as the clock reached zero seconds. Originally signaled as a goal by the nearest referee, it was waved off after a discussion between all three officials. It was ruled that the ball crossed the line after time expired, but it was not clear right away because the horn on the scoreboard was too soft to be heard over the crowd and the air horn on the sideline malfunctioned.
Penn Manor had its second corner of the game in the first minute of the first overtime, but Killian made a sliding save to extend the game.
Grace Gerner made a stop of a Lower Dauphin shot with her stick to the ground with just over a minute left in the first overtime to force a second extra period.
Penn Manor finished with four shots and two corners. Arkhurst made eight saves, including four in a two-minute span of the first period when Lower Dauphin had three straight corners.
Lower Dauphin had 10 shots and 11 corners. Killian made three saves.