“I thought both squads played their hearts out,’ Mount coach Tina Reinprecht said. “I’m really proud of my kids.’

Freshman Grace Wallis doubled the Mount lead with 9:49 left in the half when she re-directed a shot by Katie Maransky from the top of the circle past Rusati on a corner. That would be the last shot Rusati allowed in her cage, as the keeper went into lockdown mode.

Rusati played a stellar game, making six saves, including a reactionary parry of a mid-air Maransky shot in the second half that looked destined for goal. Despite facing 18 corners, the Gwynedd Mercy keeper was resolute and her defense seemed to feed off that energy.

“Rusati in goal for Gwynedd, she’s just stellar,’ Reinprecht said. “Ava’s a really nice little goalie.’

On the open field, a few Monarchs were trying to do too much.

“It became a couple of players dominating the whole team and it made those players start to wonder who they could trust,’ Sue Persichetti said.

Catalino had been close a few times, but the senior captain hadn’t finished. After going down two, she made sure to grab Corinne Persichetti, her longtime friend and teammate, to make sure they both knew it was their last time facing Mount in a regular season game.

With 3:41 to go before the break, Catalino finally broke through. Picking up the ball around midfield, Catalino wove her way through the Mount defense and uncorked a tough-angled shot that found its way into the net to halve the lead and put a spark under the Monarchs.

“That was incredible,’ Catalino said of the goal’s effect. “I think if we didn’t have that, we wouldn’t be here right now talking about a win. At our halftime talk, I said we got one up there, it’s possible, we can do it and we have 30 minutes.’

Catalino had a shot saved with 21 seconds left in the half, and the Monarchs had a last-second corner, but had to settle for a one-goal deficit. It didn’t matter too much; things had already started to turn in their favor.

Gwynedd Mercy started the second half off with a fervor, Catalino leading the way with three early shots. But it was a corner that was the difference maker.

Kaitlin McCauley found Megan Duvernois alone on the left side of the circle on the first pass of the corner. Duvernois put some air under the ball and chipped it over the keeper’s reach inside the far post to tie the game.

Instead of wilting, Mount re-established itself, setting up camp in the GMA end, this time with five straight penalty corners.

“We got ourselves into that position by letting the ball hit our feet or having our sticks too high,’ Corinne Persichetti said. “When you’re in that position, you just need to do your best and put your best effort out to clear the ball and save your goalie.’

“They did an incredible job,’ Catalino added. “(The defense) faced a lot of corners and handled every single one.’

The Monarchs had a temporary reprieve, but Mount St. Joseph’s came right back, with Maransky’s shot nearly finding net with 7:12 to go.

By this point, Catalino was exhausted. For a while, the senior was the only Monarch able to carry the ball through the midfield, and she had taken a couple of hits inside the circle.

“In a game like this, she’ll play forward and mid and still get back on defense,’ Sue Persichetti said.

But Catalino kept plugging away.

“We both decided we weren’t going to lose this game,’ Catalino said of her and Persichetti. “We were going to do whatever it took.’

Throughout the second half, the Monarchs kept rotating players around different positions, especially on their corners. The set plays have been an unusual struggle for GMA this year, but one of those new looks would pay off massively.

Much like Mount had done twice to them, the Monarchs started drawing a series of corners early in overtime. On the third set play, Duvernois found Corinne Persichetti and the senior captain was able to chip the Mount keeper, setting off a celebration.

“Both teams had a ton of corners and we didn’t get a ton of shots off because their defense was strong,’ Corinne Persichetti said. “We were just hoping to get one in on a corner because it’s the best opportunity. We kept trying the straight shots and passes and the straight shot was open.’

With an opponent like Mount, where one mistake can be costly, that corner isn’t always option No. 1.

“We practice that corner a lot but normally we don’t try it in big games like this because it’s pretty risky,’ Catalino said. “We figured, they had put a new goalie in so why not take advantage of it. Corinne did it, it was an incredible shot.’

Reinprecht said a game like this is a “Super Bowl’ for both teams, as are contests against Merion and Villa Maria, speaking to the quality of the league. The Mount coach said her seniors kept her team level and chalked it up to a bounce going in Gwynedd Mercy’s favor.

Bounce or no bounce, the Monarch captains saw their last chance to sweep an archrival for the first time in their careers. With their time together on the field closing, as both are attending different colleges next fall, they knew they had to take it.

“Corinne and Nicole, they really wanted this win,’ Sue Persichetti said. “They were going to do anything to make sure that it happened.’