SOUTH PORTLAND – In the end, all it took was one: one shot and one goal.

Nikki LaPlante’s goal 30 seconds into a sudden-death extra period was the only shot in the period and lifted South Portland to 15-14 victory over Portland in a girls’ lacrosse game Thursday at Martin Memorial Field.

LaPlante’s goal ended a game in which the Red Riots rallied from a four-goal deficit in the second half to force overtime, then went into the sudden-death period tied with the Bulldogs after a pair of three-minute overtimes.

“The whole beginning of the game was really frustrating,” said LaPlante, who helped the Red Riots earn their sixth consecutive win. “We just pulled it together.

“We got really frustrated but we were able to relax and pull things through, but it was intense.”

After losing a four-goal lead at the end of regulation, the Bulldogs forced the sudden-death session when Raechel Allen scored with 3.5 seconds left, her third goal of the game.

Allen, Catherine Flaherty and Drew Barry each scored three goals for Portland (6-5), which came back to take a 4-3 lead with 11:28 left in the first half on Allen’s first goal and led 7-4 at halftime.

“We were trading goals at one point and then Portland started winning the ground balls,” South Portland Coach Bill Fenton said. “We called a timeout (with 9:37 left in the second half) and I told the girls, ‘We’ve got to start winning the ground balls.’

“We started winning the draws and winning the ground balls.”

Trailing 11-7 with 9:37 left in the second half, the Red Riots scored the next four goals, including LaPlante’s tying goal with 1:08 left in regulation to force overtime. Then, the Bulldogs and Red Riots (9-1) combined for six goals, including Allen’s tying goal, to advance to the sudden-death period.

“We said the whole game that we have to play our game, which is passing and catching,” LaPlante said.

“We don’t run it down the field. We transition really well and that was the biggest thing for us, passing and playing as a team.”

South Portland’s strategy in overtime? Get possession.

“Once we had possession, it was settle down and work the ball,” Fenton said. “We were up 14-12 and they got two great goals.”

Barry’s long shot with 54.3 seconds left dribbled past South Portland goalie Kirsten Kane (10 saves), followed by Allen’s goal that tied the game, 14-14.

But with the end in sight, LaPlante’s strategy was simply to find the right spot and take the best shot.

Hovering to the left of Portland goalie Kara Grant (six saves) in the opening seconds of sudden-death overtime, LaPlante fielded Anh Nguyen’s pass, then turned and fired the final shot on goal.

“Anh came down the field on the right side and everyone was crowded over there,” said LaPlante, who scored a game-high six goals. “All of their players were on whoever had the ball, so I was wide open on the left side and I cut in at the right time.

“I just knew I had to put it in at that point.”

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

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Twitter: @rlenzi