EMMAUS - It was the toughest loss that the Northern Lehigh field hockey team had to take in some time.
After battling back to score a second half goal to send Wednesday night's District 11 Class AA semifinal against Moravian Academy into overtime, the Lady Bulldogs looked like they had the momentum to punch their ticket to Thursday's championship game back at Emmaus.
That didn't happen, however, and the Lions managed to pull out a 2-1 win and earn the right to take on Southern Lehigh, the other semifinalist winner, for the 2A title at 6 o'clock.
The district champion receives an automatic bid into the PIAA playoffs. The Moravian-Southern Lehigh loser plays the loser between the District 2 and District 4 runners-up at 4 p.m. Saturday at Whitehall for a state berth.
With 6:46 left in the first overtime, Northern Lehigh goalie Nicole Horn got tangled up with Moravian Academy's Lucy Pidcock. According to the officials, Horn's stick made contact with Pidcock, she was given a red card and sent to the bench. Nicole Pitosky took her place and had to face a penalty shot from Moravian's Madi Sheetz as soon as she stepped into the cage. The shot went wide left and the Northern Lehigh contingent breathed a sigh of relief.
"It just happened at the heat of the moment," said Pidcock. "Those things happened. It hurt pretty bad, but I just kind of jogged it off."
Moravian Academy head coach Debbie Bross left it up to Pidcock whether she wanted to stay in the game or not.
"She wanted to go back in," Bross noted. "She was exhausted, but she rose to the occasion.
"She (Lucy) spoils us. She can score from either side of the cage."
The Lady Bulldogs never got a chance to get on the offensive much after that as Pidcock scored her second goal of the night with 4:25 remaining on the clock to end it.
"We lost to them earlier in the season 1-0 in overtime," said a dejected Northern Lehigh head coach Jessica Frew. "I think we're evenly matched. They have one player (Pidcock) that just stands out and you're only going to shut her down so many times before she's going to score.
With both defenses playing great in the first half, Pidcock dribbled the ball all by herself in towards the goal and fired a shot unassisted past Horn with 2:08 left in the first half to give the Lions a 1-0 lead.
The Lady Bulldogs actually didn't have a shot on goal in the first half and the Lions had a 6-1 edge on penalty corners.
Things actually reversed in the second half when it was Northern Lehigh who was the aggressor and it was Moravian Academy that only managed two shots on goal, both late.
With 19:58 showing on the game clock, Northern Lehigh's Rachel Wagner banged a deflection off of Moravian goalie Zoe Briggs' pads high into the cage to tie it up at 1-1.
"We had opportunities," said Frew. "The first half of the game I don't think we played outstanding, but that goal from them woke us up, which I guess had to happen. We definitely played a better second half. They weren't ready to end it here. They wanted to continue the season and come out with a win."
The Lady Bulldogs, who finished the season at 11-8-2, finished the night with five shots on goal, five penalty corners and six goalie saves. The Lions (17-4) had eight shots on goal, seven penalty orners and five saves.