CENTER VALLEY "Good, better, best. Never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best."
Those are the motivating words that the Northern Lehigh field hockey team lived by throughout the regular season.
The Bulldogs were able to play "good" enough ball to qualify for the District 11 Class AA playoffs with a 8-7-3 overall record.
Based on Thursday's fine district quarterfinal performance against the tournament's top seed, Southern Lehigh, it was apparent they can play "better" competitively as a team.
But not even it's "best" outing of the season was good enough to hand the defending Class AA champions their first loss of the season.
Rather, it was the Spartans (21-0) who kept their perfect season in tact by escaping with a 2-1 victory.
"I told them we had nothing to lose," Northern Lehigh coach Jess Schoenberger said. "You just got to go out and give it your best effort and hopefully you win this game.
"They gave it their all and that's all you can ask for."
It was an upgrade in the Bulldogs' overall play since the Spartans posted a 3-0 Colonial League victory over them a few weeks back.
"They definitely played their best," Southern Lehigh head coach Adrienne Searfoss said. "Northern Lehigh always plays well against us. Jess does a great job with the girls and gets them psyched up and ready to go.
"They stepped up and did some nice things against us today."
Although the Bulldogs were the first to threaten only three minutes into the game, it was Bethany Vincent that put the Spartans on the board with 12:08 left in the opening half.
The Bulldogs immediately threatened once again. This time Taylor Farber wasn't letting Spartan freshman keeper Katelyn Arnold push her attempt aside.
After Danielle Dooley got one shot off, Farber took in the deflection off Arnold's pads and fired a second chance on goal. It was successful to tie the game at 1-1. Dooley was credited with the assist.
But as soon as NL made it a brand new ball game with 26:44 left in the game, So. Lehigh quickly stole the momentum right back. It only took the Spartans a minute and eight seconds to take back the lead.
In front of a congested Bulldogs' net, Brielle Mackey ended up scoring what proved to be the game winning goal with 25:36 left in the contest.
"I think they got a little angry and were able to put in that goal," Searfoss said. "I'm glad they stepped up right away and took the momentum away from Northern Lehigh right after they scored.
"Without that goal right away, who knows what could have happened? It could have went into overtime."
In the final five minutes, Northern Lehigh gave its "best" attempt of sending it into an extra frame. Unfortunately for the No. 8 seed, it couldn't find a way to do so.
"They have done a great job this season," Schoenberger said. "They all love the sport. It's going to be sad to end practice and things. But, it's the memories you make and the friendships they have had.
"All and all, they enjoyed each other and enjoyed playing the game."