Jamesville-DeWitt's girls soccer team achieved a lot of milestones on its way to a first-ever Section III Class A championship.
What it had not done was go through the singular tension of a penalty-kick shoot-out -- at least until Tuesday's Class A regional playoff game against Section II champion Burnt Hills at Stillwater High School, north of Albany.
When pushed into the shoot-out, the Red Rams kept up right until the end -- but two errant attempts allowed the Spartans to prevail, 4-3, and end J-D's season.
In terms of experience, Burnt Hills had a decided edge going into the game. It was in the state playoffs for the fifth year in a row, a stark contrast to the Rams, who were making its debut in this setting.
When a team makes a road trip like this, the early portion of the game can be crucial, as it's more difficult to find a good pace and rhythm after spending a long period of time sitting on a bus.
Perhaps that hurt J-D because, 7:37 into the game, Burnt Hills seized a 1-0 lead when freshman Jillian Beatty scored off a feed from sophomore Jessica Lyden.
This was part of a first half where the Rams found itself in a defensive mode most of the time. Natalie Mannion, Katie Heil, Rene Keller, Ashriel West and the rest of J-D's back line kept the Spartans from adding to its margin, and goalie Sarah Gianni stayed quite busy, on her way to 11 saves.
All this defense paid off when, in the 36th minute, Tara Prosak used her strong leg to lift a long shot past Burnt Hills goalie Emily McNutt into the net, tying it 1-1.
And there it would stay through the rest of the regulation. Like Burnt Hills, J-D has an attack led by youthful forwards in sophomore Tessa Devereaux and freshman Jessica Holmes, but neither of them could solve the Spartan defense, even in a flurry early in the second half when the Rams had its best chance to move in front.