MANHEIM >> After 109 minutes of scoreless playoff soccer, the Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils were running on heart and the desire to earn a second District 3 Class AA championship.
But their playoff run was cut short thanks to a last-minute goal by Manheim Central in double overtime to give the Barons a 1-0 victory in the first round Monday night.
The Barons (10-4-3) will face No. 2 seed Fleetwood (16-1-3) in a quarterfinal on Thursday. The Blue Devils finish with an 11-6-1 record.
"It's disappointing, to say the least," G-A coach Greg Cole said, "especially after being district champions last year."
Toward the end of the second overtime, Manheim Central coach John Shetromph had his player lineup set for penalty kicks, predicting that the game would remain scoreless.
Kayla Herr changed his mind with 47 seconds left.
Baron senior Anna Middleton made a play to draw Greencastle goalkeeper Jenay Faulkner off the line in a risky move. Middleton passed the ball across to Herr in the center, who hit a wide-open net for the game-winner.
"Jenay owned up to it," Cole said. "We thought she made a mistake coming off the line, but everything prior to that she had done was excellent."
Before to the final goal, Faulkner had an outstanding game, eliminating Manheim chances that frustrated Shetromph and the Barons.
"If we didn't have her in (goal), we would have gone home after regulation," Cole said.
The junior keeper made 13 saves with her aggressive style, but the final goal will stay with Faulkner until next season.
"I don't think I came out hard enough," Faulkner said, "but I can't redo it. I think I had a good game – I obviously could have done some things better, but it is what it is."
The Blue Devils' mood heading into the first round contest was light-hearted, as the girls danced to warm-up music on the field and were even doing somersaults on the sidelines. But as soon as the game whistle blew, Greencastle went to work.
G-A spent much of the first half defending its own net while Manheim Central put on the pressure, but it became a more even match in the second half, when the Blue Devils began to force the Barons to play more direct.
"I thought we deserved a win, but at the same time we allowed a team to dictate a style that we didn't want to play," Shetromph said. "We are not good at a very direct style."
The Barons were called offside 17 times, which broke up their momentum.
"We didn't play our best; I know we can play better than we did tonight," Shetromph said. "But a win is a win, and the finish was really very nice."
Injury and fatigue plagued the Blue Devils in overtime, with various starters battling through soreness and injury in only the team's second overtime challenge of the season.
However, G-A did have two close chances. With 8:19 left in the first OT, Ally Rudy was tripped up just outside the 18, but her direct kick went just over the crossbar. Early in the second overtime, Alyssa Denkovich took a good shot from the right side, but Baron keeper Kelly Kreider punched it away.
"Fatigue was hitting us a little bit," Faulkner said. "But we had some momentum in the second overtime, I think ... we just couldn't get it."
"An additional half hour puts a toll on your body at the end of the season," Cole said, who considered changing the lineup mid-way through overtime to take Faulkner from goal, and move her to forward to get fresh legs and talent into the game.
"But these kids played through injuries and I'm extremely happy for them," Cole said. "Disappointed for them, but happy for them."
Manheim Central 1
—0 Manheim Central000
Second overtime — (MC) Kayla Herr, asst. Anna Middleton, 109th min.
Shots — GA 18, MC 16; Corner kicks — GA 4, MC 9; Saves — GA 13 (Jenay Faulkner), MC 9 (Kelly Kreider).