From the opening whistle against Fleetwood Wednesday night, the York Suburban girls' soccer team appeared to be the better team.
Even the Tigers' coach, Mike Boyer, agreed with that.
The Trojans controlled the majority of the play and peppered the Tigers' goalie, Madison Hileman, with shots on goal and several close calls.
But when it came to getting anything behind the Fleetwood junior goalkeeper, the Trojans couldn't figure out a way to do it -- until it was too late.
Hileman stoned the York-Adams Division II co-champs all night, racking up 13 saves on 14 chances. The Tigers didn't have nearly the same firepower as the hosts, but took advantage of their opportunities, scoring three goals on four shots in the first half.
The eventual 3-1 setback not only ended Suburban's campaign, it also delivered a heavy dose of disappointment, as well.
"What can you say?" Suburban coach Tom Shugars said after his team held a 14-5 edge in shots on goal. "It's a very cruel game sometimes. It's a disappointment, especially because I thought we were significantly better than them. Not a little better than them ... significantly. That team would finish fifth in our division."
The Trojans looked like a team that was ready to explode against the Tigers (10-10-1) from the get-go. Suburban (13-5-2) peppered Hileman with a shot and blast that hit the post in the game's first 90 seconds.
"The first 10 minutes of the game, I was very impressed with (Suburban)," Boyer said. "They're big, they're fast and they pass the ball well."
For every good thing the Trojans did on the field, Hileman was the wall that denied their numerous scoring chances. The junior, who was an all-Berks County all-star selection a year ago, was the main difference between Suburban playing another day and going home for good.
"She was great," Shugars said. "She made some nice saves."
The Tigers, who entered the playoffs with a deceiving 8-10-1 record, have played most of their games without their offensively gifted forward, Samantha Sanders. Sanders, just one of two seniors on the team, suffered a broken leg in the team's seventh game of the year. Scoring has been a struggle since then, so Wednesday's outburst was a pleasant surprise to Boyer.
"We were very fortunate," Boyer said. "We haven't scored three goals in a while. Especially against a good team like this one."
Fleetwood took the early lead off a set play. Hannah Stump took a free kick from the 45 and the ball bounced to Hanna Perone inside the box. Perone cleared away from a Trojan defender and headed in a shot on her team's first scoring chance.
"That was a little sudden, because we were on top of them the whole time," Trojan senior Lexi Ketterman said.
Perone increased the lead at the 10:26 mark after a corner kick by Rayann Fink deflected off a Suburban defender's arm near the far post. That resulted in a penalty kick chance and Perone buried her opportunity to make it 2-0.
"That was definitely another downer," Ketterman said.
Fleetwood pushed the lead to 3-0 with 2:07 left in the half as Kaylyn Oxenreider put one in the net from just outside the box.
Hileman finally cracked late in the second half when Mikala Kin ripped a shot into the twine with 8:16 left. That goal, though, wasn't enough to rally the Trojans.
"We regrouped at the half and had a positive attitude," Ketterman said. "We controlled the second half, we just couldn't get many balls (past Hileman)."
Ketterman, Shugars, and the team's other five seniors were a little emotional during the post-game team huddle. Shugars, who coached all six seniors since they were 12 years old, expressed his sentiments about those seniors and his team.
"They always gave 100 percent," he said. "They never gave up. I'm very, very proud of them."
OTHER DISTRICT 3 GIRLS' SOCCER Class AAA
NORTHERN YORK 3, DALLASTOWN 2 (OT): At Dallastown, the fourth-seeded Wildcats trailed 2-0 late in the second half, when Cassy Landis scored with 11:24 remaining. Alaina Curry then tied the match with four seconds remaining to send the match into overtime. In overtime, however, the 13th-seeded Polar Bears' Olivia Snare found the back of the net for the third time on the day and ended the golden-goal overtime to capture the District 3-AAA first-round match. The Wildcats received an a assist from Ashley Chioda on the Curry goal, while goalie Becca Austin made six saves. Dallastown's season comes to a close with a 19-2-1 record. Northern improved to (17-4-0).
GOVERNOR MIFFLIN 4, WEST YORK 2: At Shillington, 12th-seeded West York was tied 2-2 at the half, but was unable to find the back of the net in the second half, while fifth-seeded Gov. Mifflin scored two unanswered goals to capture the District 3-AAA first-round victory. For West York, Shyanne Kimbrough and Darby Sells each scored one goal, while Amanda Cheak picked up an assist and Stevie Gross made six stops in goal. West York's season ended with a 13-5-1 record. Gov. Mifflin improved to 20-1.
HARRISBURG CHRIS TIAN 2, EASTERN 1: At Palmyra, the 10th-seeded Golden Knights trailed 2-0 midway through the second half, when Chelsey Mowrey found the back of the net at the 66:57 mark to cut the lead in half, but the Golden Knights couldn't come any closer in the District 3-AA first-round match. Golden Knights goalie Cassidy Layman made 14 stops. Eastern ends the season with a 12-8-0 record. No. 7 seed Harrisburg Christian improved to (14-2-0).
FAIRFIELD 7, HIGH POINT BAPTIST ACADE MY 2: At High Point Baptist Academy, the ninth-seeded Green Knights held a commanding 5-0 lead at the end of the first half and went on to capture the District 3-AA first-round game. Lexy Junker led the Green Knights with two goals. Brittany Hummel, Katie Fitzgerald and Katelyn McDonald each had one goal and one assist. Fairfield -- the only York-Adams League team left in the District 3 girls' soccer playoffs -- improved to 15-3-1 and moves to the quarterfinals, where it will face 16th-seeded Wyomissing (12-8-0) at 5 p.m. Saturday at Lancaster Mennonite. Wyomissing stunned No. 1 seed Berks Catholic on Wednesday, 2-1. High Point ended its season at 14-5.
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.