Cicero Weary from the season's longest and most dramatic contest, the Liverpool field hockey team still found enough strength and character to make some history.
The Warriors outlasted Section II champion Niskayuna in Saturday's state Class A semifinal at Bragman Stadium, requiring seven rounds of penalty strokes to prevail by a 3-2 margin after a 2-2 draw in regulation and overtime.
It marks the first time that Liverpool has ever advanced to the state championship game, to be played Sunday against defending champion Sachem East, who flattened Williamsville North 6-0 in the other semifinal.
Like the Warriors, Niskayuna was after a first-ever state finals appearance, and controlled large amounts of the game, including the entire first half, when Liverpool was unable to get any shots on the net.
Late in the half, the Silver Warriors' pressure led to a penalty corner, and from the right side, Alexa Angerami, taking a feed from Carrie Hanks, cranked a shot from the right side past Liverpool goalie Meghan Evangelista.
That one-goal margin did not hold up for long. Just 52 seconds into the second half, Emma Lamison, totally bottled up in the earlier stages, found space on the right side and hit a hard shot that Silver Warriors goalie Emily King had no chance to stop.
Lamison wasn’t done. Drawing multiple defenders, she still fought through the resistance and, with 13:45 left, hit a shot to the middle that Morgan Thomas deflected into the cage.
Now ahead 2-1, Liverpool tried to hold on, but could not. Niskayuna initiated an all-out attack, and it paid off when Ali Frary’s hard shot from the right side glanced off the stick of Gabrielle Litz and beat Evangelista, tying it 2-2.
And there it would stay, despite numerous attacks by the Silver Warriors in the remainder of regulation and 20 minutes of sudden-death, seven-on-seven overtime play.