It creates a new set of possibilities for the playoff picture. With Moorestown having already beaten Cherokee soundly but having lost a tight game to Shawnee, it appeared that the Chiefs were running third behind the Renegades and Quakers. It now looks more like a dead heat.
``We needed this,'' said senior Alissa McCaddin, a right defense wing who scored the winner with 6 minutes, 33 seconds left in the Olympic Conference American Division game. ``We needed to show everyone that Cherokee is in the running for a state championship.''
The Chiefs gave Shawnee a close-up look.
``Cherokee came out really strong, and they played a great game,'' Shawnee's Kristin Abruzzese said. ``They showed they wanted it, and they played a better game today.''
McCaddin had a big hand in that. With Abruzzese clamping down on Cheryl Back, and teammate Andrea Fortino doing likewise on Adrienne Booth, the scoring chores were left to McCaddin, Cherokee's third-leading scorer. McCaddin, who next season will play for Columbia, rang up three goals. She scored the last by taking a feed from Back and ripping a shot from in-close past goalie Kristin Hagerman. It put the Chiefs up 6-5, their first lead of the game.
With Shawnee (9-1 overall, 9-1 league) slightly off its game and Cherokee (10-1, 10-1) getting good defensive play and a great eight-save day from goalie Janel Schillig, that was enough. Back finished the scoring on a free-position shot, her second of the game, with just seconds left.
``It was 12 players playing with all their heart,'' said Birnbohm. ``I'm so proud of them.''