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Mustangs denied state Class B crown in overtime

Through the second half, then four separate overtime periods (two played in full, plus two sudden-death sessions), Marcellus would have a fair amount of chances to score, but got nothing past Bayport goalkeeper Kerry Stoothoff, who made eight saves.

So the entire season for Marcellus rode on a penalty-kick shoot-out, each side getting five opportunities to get that far. And Fletcher got a chance to shine.

Bayport went first in each round, but C.J. Acker and Breanne Ingargiola both pulled their shots wide right in an attempt to avoid Fletcher's long reach. On the third attempt, Abigal Gruppuso hit it to Fletcher, who deflected the ball off the right post.

By contrast, the Mustangs were perfect in its shots. First Garrant, then Rachel Farneti, and finally Sarah Holden polished off shots that eluded Stoothoff and found the net, placing the Mustangs one win away from a perfect ending.

Briarcliff, the Section I representative, stood in the way. The Bears were 21-0 and had fought past Livonia (Section V) 1-0 in the other semifinal.

Right away, Fletcher was tested by the Bears' aggressive attack, but she handled the chances and would blank Briarcliff in the first half.

Meanwhile, the Mustangs suffered a severe blow early in the game when senior, Bridget Dooley, one of the team's bedrock players at midfield, went out with a head injury. Dooley did not return, an absence that the entire team would feel.

Still, Holden would put the Mustangs in front in the 33rd minute. She had seen a great shot midway through the first half go off the crossbar, but in this case, she sprinted to the middle and took a perfect feed from Farneti and crushed it past Briarcliff goalie Chelsea Bodansky.

Up 1-0 going into halftime, Marcellus still didn't possess the ball as much as it would like, with the Bears constantly probing and taking the ball into the Mustangs' end.

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