In the cruelest way possible, the Marcellus girls soccer team saw its chance of winning a state Class B championship thwarted.
A shot by Oneonta's Madison Miller that somehow found the net in the waning seconds of regulation led to a 2-1 defeat in Sunday night's title game at SUNY-Cortland.
"It's hard to lose it like that," said Marcellus head coach Laurie Updike. "My heart aches right now."
Just when it looked like the game would go into overtime tied at 1-1, Miller, from 25 yards out, hit what looked like a routine shot to Marcellus goalkeeper Emily Buschbascher, stationed in front of her net.
But the ball, wet from the rain on the turf that had accumulated throughout the second half, slipped out of Buschbascher's hands and trickled into the net.
Seconds later, the game was over. As Oneonta celebrated, the crestfallen Mustangs remained in shock, but gathered themselves to accept the second-place medals and plaque as a large contingent of Marcellus fans gave them one more round of cheers.
The task Marcellus faced in the final was a large one - namely, having to beat the state's top-ranked team for the second time in the state playoffs.
Oneonta assumed that top spot after the Mustangs beat Schalmont in the regional round, and the Yellowjackets knocked off Hornell 2-1 in its state semifinal to get this far.
These two teams had a bit of history, too. Marcellus won its second state title in 2003 in suburban Rochester when it beat Oneonta in overtime. Exactly a decade later, new groups of Mustangs and Yellowjackets met for those same high stakes.
In the first half, the Mustangs would play with a south wind of more than 20 miles per hour behind them, and that would quickly matter.
Just 3:39 into the game, Jada Sargeant, from nearly 30 yards out, hit a long shot toward the Oneonta net. It picked up the wind and took a large bounce that fooled Yellowjackets goalie Maddie Grau and crashed into the net, putting Marcellus in front 1-0.