Warmth was in short supply Thursday evening at Penn Charter, but quality lacrosse was plentiful.
Abington freshman Shea Gormley remained cool under pressure throughout and eventually netted the game-winner in double overtime, giving the Ghosts an important 8-7 victory and eliciting screams that not even the blustery conditions could squelch.
Cherry-cheeked from either the temperature in the mid-40s, the game's intensity or just from the sheer exertion of cheering, a tightly bundled Abington reserve said it best after the Ghosts stormed the field in celebration: "OK, now let's get outta here!"
Freedom came with 2 minutes and 1 second left in the second overtime after senior defender Alexis Joseph deflected an Abington pass in the air near Penn Charter's goal.
Quakers goaltender Hayley Hunt, who was strong in goal, sprung from the crease but the tipped ball went just above her stick before Gormley gobbled it and fired in one motion.
"I have to catch this ball," said Gormley, the daughter of Northeast football coach Phil Gormley. "That was the only thing running through my mind. Catch first, shoot second. It's just back to the basics at that point."
A return to fundamentals, said coach Mary Liz Klepper, was necessary after her Ghosts lost the first three games of the season.
"We've been on a really great high right now," Klepper said. "We've won four of our last five games so we really needed this for confidence building, too. We have a really talented team and we had a really rocky start so I'm really proud of these girls."
Teamwork and poise replaced the sloppy play, mistakes and fatigue-induced fouls that plagued Abington earlier this season.
On Thursday, the Ghosts (5-4) seized a modicum of control after 3-straight goals just before intermission yielded a 6-4 halftime edge.
Junior midfielder Lauren Van Buren (3 goals) then gave Abington a 7-5 lead with 1 minute, 30 seconds left before the Quakers' furious comeback.
Penn Charter (6-4) responded when Darcy Felter scored off a feed from Greer Guyer with 42 ticks left and Joseph added the game-tying goal with 2.5 left after a free-position attempt from about 8 yards away.
After both teams missed opportunities during the first three-minute extra frame, Gormley eventually found glory late, but was quick to dish praise to her teammates.
"In the beginning I was really nervous when I'd go in, but now I'm a lot more calm and these girls have really helped me adjust to the playing time," Gormley said.
With a smile, she added: "It's really exciting, especially getting that [goal]. It really boosts your confidence a lot and helps you grow as a player."
Abington 6 1 1 8
Penn Charter 4 3 0 7
A: Lauren Van Buren 3, Abby Thomas, Sam Simon, Natalie McNamara, Shea Gormley.
PC: Leah Sax, Greer Guyer, Vanessa Ewing, Kaylee Dyer, Darcy Felter, Mia Ferraro, Alexis Joseph