BOYERTOWN — Cinderella — a.k.a. the Council Rock North girls soccer team — saw the clock on its season strike midnight Thursday.
And it was Boyertown stealing the glass slipper — a.k.a. their District 1 Class AAA playoff game — in dramatic fashion at BASH Memorial Stadium.
Ashley Becker converted what became the game's lone goal inside the six-minute mark, lifting the Bears to a memorable 1-0 win. That put the fourth-seeded locals into the tourney's quarterfinal round for the first time in their history.
And it's a certainty nobody affiliated with the Boyertown program — players, coaches, fans — was enjoying the outcome more than Becker ... unless it was Emily Saxon, who set the stage for the winning play that subsequently warmed the local crowd on an otherwise chilly night.
"It was a tight game,' Saxon recalled. "Possession was going back and forth. But I knew our time would come, and we got the opportunity in the last five minutes.'
With Boyertown getting its fifth corner kick of the game, Saxon booted the ball toward the center-front of the CR North goal. Becker's kick was straight on from the box, catching goalkeeper Danielle Samson and her North teammates out of position to counter it.
"Emily and I work on our crosses all the time,' Becker said. "She finds my foot. I just ran right through the ball.'
The 20th-seeded Indians — they were coming off a first-round win over 13th-seeded Downingtown West two days earlier, one decided on penalty kicks 4-3 — pressured Boyertown at its end of the field for several of the game's closing minutes. But the Bears got the ball down to the other end in the final minute, controlling it as the clock ran out.
"I'm a defender, so it's a big thing to score,' Becker said. "On corners, my No. 1 thing is to try and find the cross.'
The first half saw Boyertown, with a 2-1 edge in shots on goal and 2-0 advantage in corners, keep the ball at CR North's end of the field most of the time. But the Indians' tenacious defense kept the score at 0-0 through that 40-minute span, and for the next 34.
"They (North) are a good team, but we controlled possession the entire time,' Becker said.
The Bears had one promising possession 11:30 into the second half, getting off a flurry of shots at the North goal. But the visitors ultimately got out of the troublesome situation with stiff defense.
"They're an organized team,' Boyertown head coach Bill Goddard said of the Indians. "They play good team defense and get a lot of people behind the ball. We kept sticking to what we do best.'
"As the game went on, I think they got tired. It's not an exaggeration that a first half like that takes a lot out of you.'
As a result, the Bears find themselves one win away from securing a berth in the PIAA Class AAA playoffs, as one of five teams advancing out of the district. They will host Pennsbury 7 p.m. Saturday, a matchup that holds special meaning for them.
"They ended our season last year,' Goddard said. "It's a fitting chance to get the win and be in the Final Four.'
Boyertown will face a similar situation with Pennsbury as it did with Council Rock North: A lower seed coming off the upset of a higher seed. The 12th-seeded Falcons toppled fifth-seeded Pennridge 1-0 to set up the rematch.
"We need to have revenge,' Becker said.
Taylor Sassaman was credited with the assist on Becker's goal. ... When they met in the 2012 playoffs, Boyertown was a seventh seed and Pennsbury a 10th seed. The game ended up a 2-1 win for the Falcons. ... The Bears, by virtue of their high seed, got a bye in the playoffs' first round.
Follow Jeff Stover on Twitter at @MercuryXStover.