It's always tough when a ride like this comes to an end.
The Gwynedd Mercy field hockey team went through a season filled with victories, 22 of them in fact, en route to an appearance in the PIAA Class AA state semifinals.
After falling 3-1 to Wyoming Seminary Tuesday on a cold night on the turf at Emmaus, the pain was there, but the Monarchs could also reflect on how far they came in 2013.
"I think why it's so disappointing is that it's so exciting that we got to this point, especially how our team grew,' senior tri-captain Christa Giordano said. "I think this is the closest we've ever been and I know we're like a family. So to do this together, to get to the semifinals of states, is amazing for Gwynedd hockey. We're so proud of each other.'
The Monarchs dominated in the regular season, scoring double-digit goals multiple times, then finished third in District 1 before earning state tournament victories over Palmyra and Archbishop Carroll.
Gwynedd will return several of the players that made this postseason run possible, including junior speedster Nicole Catalino.
Trying to rally
Once the high-powered Blue Knights built a two-goal lead early in the second half Tuesday night, GMA was in a far more difficult situation, but the Monarchs were even more intent on generating pressure.
"The mentality was play like we had nothing to lose,' Giordano said. "If it was going to be our last game, we wanted to play Gwynedd hockey, we wanted to play the way we wanted to. We didn't want to let anyone control the game.'
GMA was able to keep the ball in Wyoming's end for several stretches but couldn't quite get off the shot it needed to make it a one-goal game and have a chance to tie.
The Monarchs called a timeout with 10 minutes to go to talk it over.
"We didn't execute on our corners,' coach Sue Persichetti said. "Our plan at that timeout was to draw more corners and get them off.'
Wyoming was tough on the defensive end and kept the margin at two. Also, keeper Mackenzie Gagliardi stopped anything that came her way in the second half.
The clock problem
And then there was the clock issue on Tuesday night.
Wyoming Seminary's third goal came with 28:21 left in the second half but the clock mistakenly read 21:28.
As the second half wore on, the GMA bench wanted to make sure the time would be added back on but the time keeper, along with the referees, didn't think the time was incorrect.
The Monarchs' coaching staff continued to protest after the game but to no avail. GMA fans from the opposite stands yelled "seven more minutes' as the players left the field.
It's uncertain how those seven minutes would have affected the outcome, but GMA definitely would have liked that much more time to mount a rally.
"You know how many breakaways Nicole Catalino could have had? How many long balls or breakaways Corinne (Persichetti) could have had?' coach Persichetti said. "It wasn't 30 seconds or a minute, but seven minutes. This is not take away the credit due to (Wyoming Seminary). This is getting us back what we were due so that we can make adjustments and changes.'
Follow Kev Hunter on Twitter @khunter10
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