On the day before her 16th birthday, Northern High School sophomore field hockey player Brooke Boyd gave herself and her teammates the best present of all on Monday afternoon when she scored the game’s only goal with less than one minute remaining in the second overtime to lift the Patriots past Leonardtown 1-0.

Northern (4-2) had created more chances in the second half and the first overtime off corners than Leonardtown, and with less than one minute remaining in the second overtime, when the teams appeared destined to decide the outcome in penalty strokes, belatedly prevailed when Boyd stuffed the ball into the box for the game winner.

“I was so excited to see the ball go into the box and hear it hit the back wall,” said Boyd, who promptly turned 16 the next day. “We played so hard the whole game. The whole team worked so hard. I am just so happy that we won.”

Northern third-year coach Corajo Tozzolo commended her players for their efforts in the game and throughout the season. The Patriots have made their presence known throughout the abbreviated season, having only suffered setbacks to county powers Huntingtown and Patuxent. She was already looking forward to the brief postseason slate.

“I really could not be happier with the way they played,” said Tozzolo, who graduated from Northeast High School in Cecil County. “These girls fought so hard the whole game. Both teams really played well. When in went to overtime it was just a matter of which girls wanted it more. Brooke came through with the goal we needed.”

Leonardtown had controlled the first quarter and parts of the second quarter as senior Blake Bahr, Emma Coombs, Anna Derenzo, Lauren Weiner and junior Dylan Countiss all displayed good stick handling skills and gave the Raiders several early scoring chances and a pair of corners. But those chances all proved unsuccessful and the two teams remained scoreless through regulation.

“Our girls have played so well all season and they have been able to overcome so much adversity,” said Leonardtown third-year coach Amberly Kelley. “We had some good scoring chances in the first half. We just could not find a way to score. We’ve played well together all season and the girls are happy just to be able to have a season.”

But on the day before her 16th birthday, Northern’s Boyd departed happiest of all afetr netting the game-winner.

With less than one minute remaining in the second overtime, following a span of more than 79 minutes of scoreless action, Boyd delivered the most important and most memorable goal of her young field hockey career.

Twitter: @TedSoMdNews

Twitter: @TedSoMdNews