"We felt like we needed to come out and make a statement," Tiernan said. "And we did it."
Her two goals, including the nifty double-overtime winner in the 95th minute, lifted the Vikings to a 2-1 triumph over their bitter rival. The win firmly established Eastern as South Jersey's team to beat. And for the first time in five years, a team other than the Indians has a stranglehold on the top spot in the rankings.
At the center of it all is Tiernan, a Rutgers recruit who, through injuries, adversity, pressure, and exhaustion, continues to separate herself as the one of the state's shiftiest, most athletic goal scorers.
"She's a warrior," said coach Jamie McGroarty, who also coaches Tiernan in softball. "She won a state title in softball. She wants so much to win one in soccer.
"We have the type of quality club that's in the mix for that. And she's our leader."
Tiernan, whose injury kept her out of a game against Cherokee on Sept. 10 and sapped some of her minutes in other games, has six scores and four assists this season.
She has lofty goals for her senior year. And almost all of them - an Olympic Conference American Division title, a Coaches Tournament title, and a Group 4 title - could come down to a match with Lenape. The teams will butt heads again on Monday, the second of potentially four meetings this season.
"It's a great matchup every time we play," Tiernan said. "It could go either way.
"We're 7-0, and it's nice that we beat Lenape. But we're just trying to keep ourselves humble. We know we might see them a few more times."
- Chris Melchiorre