Seven goals down, four players down, the Christian Brothers Academy girls lacrosse team still came within an eyelash of a historic comeback in Friday's state Class C semifinal at SUNY-Cortland.
The Brothers scored six straight goals in the final minutes to charge at Shoreham-Wading River, only to have the Wildcats hang on and prevail 14-13 to end CBA's dreams of repeating as state champions.
Still, what will always be remembered about this contest was the Brothers' resolve.
"I've never been been prouder of a group of kids," said head coach Doug Segdwick, adding that this performance almost topped the 2011 state title run because of the odds his team faced.
Marisa Romeo, who notched five consecutive goals in the comeback, only to be denied on a point-blank attempt with 23 seconds left, said her team's effort never waned.
"We knew we had better athletes, and we knew that we just couldn't be denied," she said.
Yet the story came back to the calls. During an evenly-played first half, CBA picked up three yellow cards. Four more cards in the second half left the Brothers at a disadvantage most ordinary teams could not overcome.
"All of those calls made a difference for us," said Sedgwick. "Yet with those calls, our kids rose to the occassion more, and refused to quit."
Before the wild ending, it looked like neither team would separate from the other. SWR took advantage of its first two possessions, getting back-to-back goals from Katie Boden and Alyssa Pearce to grab a 2-0 lead, but Caroline Webster got the Brothers on the board at the 6:38 mark, and tied it three minutes later.
After CBA's defense settled down and made several stops, Romeo used an impressive spin move to find open space in front of the net and put her team in front, 3-2, with 10:33 left in the half. Now it was the Wildcats' turn for a spurt, as goals from Pearce and Lauren Lustgarten put CBA behind 4-3.