So the Marcellus girls soccer team will be back on the turf at Chittenango High School on Saturday, one step away from the state Class B final four - but it almost didn't get there.
In last Tuesday's opening round of the regional tournament at Broadalbin-Perth High School north of Amsterdam, the Mustangs were dragged into overtime by Section II champion Tamarac before pulling out a 1-0 victory with an unlikely player getting the game-winner.
This was familiar ground for the Marcellus program. Back when it made its last run to the state finals, in 2005, it had to get through Tamarac in the regional round, and did so -- in overtime.
And it happened again here. Despite dominating the flow of play throughout the first half, it rarely got a shot on the Tamarac net, so head coach Laurie Updike moved up midfielders in an attempt to increase the pressure.
That didn't pay off in the second half, because Tamarac goalie Jill Benedetto kept all the shots out. She stopped Sarah Holden point-blank in the 68th minute, just after Taramac gained its best opportunity of the night as Emily LaCoss couldn't quite get a foot on a cross in front of the Marcellus net.
Playing two full 10-minute overtime periods, Marcellus and Tamarac went through the first OT, and half of the second OT, without any resolution.
But with five minutes left, Holden passed to the middle, where Becca Eddy, a forward new to the varsity roster, poked a shot past Benedetto, the only goal required to send the Mustangs to Saturday's regional final against Section VII champion Plattsburgh.