A dejected Evan Scheffey summed it up best after Wednesday's 1-0 overtime loss to St. Mary's in the semifinals of the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament.
"Soccer can be a cruel game at times," the York College men's soccer coach said.
Scheffey's squad, the tournament's second seed, dominated play throughout 95 minutes of the match, but it all ended on the only meaningful strike the sixth-seeded Seahawks would muster.
Countering quickly on a Spartans' scoring attempt just more than five minutes into overtime, St. Mary's clipped the ball down the middle of the field and a footrace ensued between the Seahawks' Zach Fontenot and York center-back Ryan Donahue.
Donahue, a senior captain and York Suburban grad, appeared to have edged Fontenot to the ball, but a slight mishap on an attempted pass back to Spartan goalie Charlie Johnson allowed Fontenot a breakaway chance.
Fontenot was able to beat Johnson to left side of the net, ending the game with the Seahawks' only shot on goal.
"They got one shot on target and to their credit they put it in," Scheffey said. "I thought we moved the ball well, executed the game plan, the guys played well and did all the things we asked and it was just that final piece."
One of the Spartans' steadiest players all season, a visibly upset Donahue was consoled by teammates and coaches as the Seahawks celebrated.
"Obviously it's not easy to watch him go out in that way," Scheffey said. "I'm sure nine times out of 10, he plays that ball cleanly back to Charlie. He's been a stud for us across the board and a great leader, so we're not going to dwell on that one moment."
With the win, the Seahawks (9-8-2) travel to face top-seeded Salisbury for Saturday's championship match. The Spartans, meanwhile, see their season come to a close at 9-8-2, including a 6-2-1 CAC mark during the regular season that had earned them a first-round bye.
In the span of a week, St. Mary's has been able to snap a pair of long-standing streaks held by the Spartans. Wednesday's win marked the first time the Seahawks had defeated York in the conference tourney since a 6-0 win on Nov. 3, 1991.
Ending with consecutive losses: York closes the season with consecutive shutout losses at home again St. Mary's. The two teams were on the same pitch in York just a week earlier on Oct. 28, when St. Mary's collected a 2-0 victory. That win marked the first time the Seahawks had beaten the Spartans in 17 tries, dating back to Sept. 16, 2000.
The play that caused the Spartans' demise was anything but representative of their defensive effort throughout the match.
York smothered every possession St. Mary's got past midfield, limiting the Seahawks to just nine shot attempts, with Fontenot's goal being the only attempt that was on goal.
Although Fontenot notched the game-winner, the biggest factor in the Seahawks' victory was goalkeeper Zack Haussler.
The Spartans controlled the majority of possession, but every solid chance the Green and White could muster seemed to go right to Haussler. The keeper stopped all six shots York put on goal in the opening 45 minutes.
In total, York attempted 24 shots to the Seahawks' nine, owning a 8-1 edge in shots on goal. York also claimed a 9-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Haussler finished with eight saves in recording the shutout.
— Reach Elijah Armold at firstname.lastname@example.org