WINTHROP — There were cheers and tears, bumps and bruises, even a few words exchanged in the heat of the moment.
Wednesday's field hockey contest had all the earmarks of a playoff game. And indeed it may escalate into that, since Lisbon (West) and Winthrop (East) potentially could meet in the Class C championship.
For now, though, it's a 1-1 tie and arguably the best game of the Mountain Valley Conference regular season.
"Very good game. We're evenly matched," Lisbon coach Julie Wescott said. "They play similar. They're fast. They're aggressive. We had scoring opportunities. We probably should have put more than one in."
Hanna Jordan scored off a rebound with 9:40 remaining in the first half for Lisbon (9-0-1). Mary-Claire Blanchard answered on a deflection for Winthrop (8-1-1) with 12:44 remaining in regulation.
The teams played through a pair of scoreless eight-minute overtimes.
Lisbon commenced celebrating the game-winner midway through the first extra session, only to see the officials convene and wave it off. It was ruled that none of the Greyhounds touched Bailey Cutler's blast from outside the scoring circle and that it had gone in off a Winthrop defender.
"It was really scary with that one that they called in. The offense is supposed to touch it inside the circle. It doesn't matter if the defense touches it in if no offense did," Winthrop coach Sharon Coulton said. "That's the current rule. But when they make the call, that was a little scary. You certainly don't want to lose on a questionable call in a game like that. If somebody makes a clean play, it's a clean play."
Winthrop enjoyed the prime opportunities in the second overtime, with Lisbon sophomore goaltender Stevie Charest making two big saves in the final two minutes.
"I'm not disappointed. They're a good team and it's better than a loss," Wescott said. "All I told them today and told them yesterday was we're going to win, we're going to lose or we're going to tie. As long as you go out and put your heart into it I'm going to be happy, and they did."
Led by the defensive efforts of Ali Bubar, Cutler and Mariah Breton, the Greyhounds fought off six penalty corners by the Ramblers to protect a 1-0 halftime lead.
Breton also notched the assist on Jordan's goal. She fired the initial shot at Winthrop goalie Alyssa Arsenault.
Quahnah Cummings alertly cleared it for the Ramblers, but Jordan got her stick down and uncorked an uncontested blast.
Lisbon dominated offensive play for the first 10 minutes of the second half before a timeout settled the Ramblers.
"We were so pumped to play them," Blanchard said. "We were pretty nervous actually."
Winthrop forwards Rachel Ingram and Lauren Kaiser began getting some quality looks at the cage. Bubar was called for a push while trying to fight off one of those forays, leading to a corner.
Center midfielder Shauna Carlson stopped the pass from the back line and whacked the ball toward Charest. Blanchard found a seam in front of the goalie and tipped in the equalizer.
"It was really pretty," Blanchard said.
"We started off trying to hit with them, and that's not the way we play," Coulton added. "Once we got into our passing, they were still beating us to the ball. That was the main thing we talked about, being aggressive to the ball. It's not that they were leaving us in the dust or anything. We had plenty of opportunities."
Defending Eastern Class C Winthrop is the last opponent with a winning record on Lisbon's regular-season schedule.
The Greyhounds are in a fight with NYA for the top seed in Western C.
"It's not the end of our season. We have four games left," Wescott said. "We'll build from there and who knows? Maybe we'll see them down the road. I said to the girls, you can beat them at states."
Winthrop still faces tests from Class B Mountain Valley and Spruce Mountain as it tries to chase down Dexter in the East.
"We weren't looking past this one by any stretch of the imagination," Coulton said, "but we're also very aware of what we've got coming up."