HEGINS - In soccer, the goalkeeper can be the great equalizer.
Both Tamaqua's Chey Bates and Millersburg's Megan Boyer entered the Schuylkill League girls championship game tied for the league lead in shutouts with 12.
In fact, Bates and the Lady Raiders had blanked eight straight opponents in rolling unbeaten to the Division I title.
The Lady Indians' Boyer, however, showed what she can do Monday as the teams went through regulation and two 15-minute overtime periods to force a shootout.
Millersburg then managed two goals to the Raiders' one during the shootout for a stunning 2-1 OT victory at Tri-Valley High School.
Tamaqua, which suffered its first loss of the season and fell to 17-1, kept the heat on Millersburg, outshooting the Indians 13-5, but Boyer, a 5-11 senior who also excels at basketball and the javelin, was up to the task.
''My philosophy against a team we're outmanned against is, bend but don't break,'' said Millersburg coach Scott Meckley after Boyer made 18 saves against the Raiders.
''We had our chances, so we can't use that as an excuse after crashing their goal so many times,'' said Tamaqua coach Clem McCarroll, whose team has lost in the Schuylkill playoffs for the second year in a row after winning the title in 2007. ''Some nights they sneak in, and other nights you can't buy a goal.
''She (Boyer) is an awesome goalie. I told our players they would have to take it right up to her and pick a corner, because if you shoot from a distance, she's going to pick it right off. She's tall, aggressive and made some nice saves. One goal would have made a difference, or else we wouldn't have been in overtime.''
The Raiders were playing without freshman midfielder Kailee Rottet, who was tied for second on the team with 12 goals but was out with a bad cold, as well as senior midfielder Shelby Hankins, who is done for the season after an emergency appendectomy following Senior Night on the Pine Grove game.
Tamaqua had some point blank shots in the game's first minute but was denied by Boyer. The Raiders did get on the board at the 14:27 mark of the first half when sophomore Kayla Hope crossed a corner kick from the left side of the net out in front to junior Allison Updike, the Lady Tams' leading scorer, who got her foot on it and knocked it past Boyer for a 1-0 lead.
Millersburg (15-3-2), the Division II champion, evened things up at the 11:38 mark of the second half when junior Kimberly Horchler was able to roll a shot past Bates from inside the box on an assist from junior Kelsey Lontz.
That was it for the scoring through the remainder of regulation and the two OT periods.
Millersburg won the coin toss for the shootout and elected to shoot second.
Kayla Hope shot first for the Raiders, with her attempt wide left of the goal.
Indians' senior Erin Feidt followed by finding the left corner of the net for a 1-0 Millersburg lead.
Updike answered with a goal in the right corner, knotting the shootout at 1-1.
Bates made a save on Kaitlin Kelly, and Boyer did likewise on the Raiders' Jackie Stewart to keep the deadlock.
The next two shots hit the crossbar. The Indians' Meredith Troutman hit the bar, and the ball sailed over the net.
Raider senior Katie Hummel, however, hit the middle of the bar, and the ball came straight down behind Boyer. It was ruled that the ball didn't cross the goalline, keeping it 1-1.
Junior Nancy Lynde, the Indians' fourth shooter, found the left corner to put Millersburg ahead 2-1.
Junior Lauren Mateyak had the last chance to tie for the Raiders, but her attempt was over the net.
''This is our third shootout in seven years, and the first one we've won,'' said Meckley after his team celebrated the victory.
McCarroll said he wasn't sure whether Hummel's kick was in the net or not.
'I like to win a game outright than rely on a call like that,'' he said.
''This was the first time in overtime this year. We put our five most accurate players out there. I wouldn't have believed we would only make one of five.''