ENCINITAS — Mira Mesa goalkeeper Lisa Malmgren said the blue dye she put in her hair was a factor, but extra time spent in practice probably helped, too.
For whatever reason, Malmgren shut down two-time defending champion Serra in the deciding penalty-strokes round Saturday to give the Marauders a 3-1 victory in the San Diego Section field hockey championship game at Diegueno Junior High School.
The teams played through 60 minutes of regulation and a 10-minute overtime but were still tied, 1-1, and headed to penalty strokes, where each of five players attempts to score in individual match-ups with the goalie. Sara Hallock and Janet Ashworth scored on two of Mira Mesa's first three shots against Serra's Myone Reese, but Malmgren stopped each of the Conquistadors' first three and grew especially confident after thwarting third stroker Brynna Perkowski.
"She had scored against me before," Malmgren said.
With Mira Mesa holding a 2-0 lead, fourth stroker Barb Hansen had to score to keep Serra alive, but Malmgren smothered her attempt to give the championship to Mira Mesa (18-2). Serra finished 17-2.