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MILLERSVILLE>> No one expected Cedar Crest to be in the District 3 Class AAA quarterfinals. The Falcons' girls soccer coach Jon Brubaker said as much to his team on Saturday as his No. 15 Cedar Crest girls got ready for overtime against No. 7 Conestoga Valley Buckskins, tied at 1-1.

After shocking No. 2 seeded Governor Mifflin in the first round of the playoffs, Brubaker's team was used to being Cinderella. With a trip to semis against Manheim Township in the balance, as well as earning a berth to States for the first time in school history, the clock struck midnight on Cinderella, as Cedar Crest lost to Conestoga Valley 1-1, with the Buckskins winning in penalty kicks, 6-5.

"If someone would have told me at the beginning of the season that we would be in PKs with the chance to move on to States for the first time in girls soccer history at Cedar Crest, I would've said you're crazy," said Brubaker following the match. "It was a fantastic season. I told them that of course the loss hurts now, but when we reflect on the year, it was a fantastic year and they have so much to be proud of."

The match started out in the Falcons' favor, as forward Ariel Jones took the midfield pass from Cece Fiorentino, made a couple of defenders miss and delivered a left-footed strike to give Cedar Crest the 1-0 lead at the 6:57 mark.

"I thought she did a good job of understanding when to cut the ball and how close she had to get to the goal to score a goal with her left food, her non-dominant foot," Brubaker said. "She showed a lot of patience. It was huge for us, and it really gave us a lot of belief. It propelled us through that first half against them."

Conestoga Valley coach Keith Nagley expected Jones to be a player in the game, but was hoping to contain her on the outside.

"We know that their speed is on the outside with Ariel Jones," Nagley said. "We knew she would be a threat. We were worried about containing her, and of course she gets loose and sticks it to us."

All was quiet on both sides for the next 33 minutes, as Cedar Crest took a 1-0 lead into the half. Despite outshooting Cedar Crest 11-5 in the first half, Conestoga Valley was unable to get anything going. It was a bend-but-don't-break defensive effort by the Falcons, but early in the second half, Crest broke, as Zoe Shelly set up Emily Clapper from the flank with a cross that Clapper buried past Crest freshman goalie Desiree Leffler to even things up at 1-1 in the 43rd minute.

The game stayed knotted at 1-1, but Buckskin Gianna Yurchak almost put the go-ahead goal in with a strike, but Leffler took away the angle to make the save and send the game into overtime.

"Desiree had another great game. She has stepped up tremendously for us since Emma Peeler has been injured," said Brubaker. "As a freshman, I would have never anticipated that she would have played as solid as she has for us because of her age. She played with a maturity beyond her years, and I think she played excellent again."

Neither team could get much going in overtime, as only two of the 12 shots were on net. With the game tied, the two teams were headed to penalty kicks, much to the chagrin of both coaches.

"We practiced them every day since league playoffs started. We eliminated people and got down to our top 10," Negley said. "You never want it to go to that spot. I asked Jon if he wanted to do best-of-five rock, paper, scissors. I don't like settling the game on PKs, but until they come up with a new rule, it is what it is."

Despite Negley telling his keeper Lauren Yoder to just stop one of the five kicks, with confidence his team would make all five shots, Leffler had other plans, as she stopped Brittany Defibaugh's attempt on the Buckskins' second attempt.

Yoder, though, would return the favor, stopping Madison Brown's attempt, keeping the two teams tied 4-4 after the first set of five kickers took the field.

After three straight players made their penalty kicks to give the Buckskins a 6-5 advantage, Cedar Crest's Sam Gerhart stepped up to the mark for her attempt, but missed high and to the left, to give Conestoga Valley the victory.

"As a coach, you just don't want to see your team in pain. It's a hard way to lose, so you feel for them in that sense," Brubaker said. "We try to talk to them about the game not being won or loss in penalty kicks. The game was decided in regulation, because as a team, we weren't able to finish them off. That's what you remind the girls and try to take a little pressure off them."

With the win, Conestoga Valley (15-4-1) will move on to the semifinals to face Manheim Township on Tuesday.

As for Cedar Crest (11-7-3) the journey is over, but after some time, they'll realize what a successful season they actually had.

"We tried to embrace the underdog story. I told them that no one expected them to be here and that the pressure was on the other team," said Brubaker. "I feel like that helped us in this little playoff run that we had. They won't think about it today or tomorrow, but as the days go by, I think they'll realize that this was a really special year.

Contestoga Valley 1, Cedar Crest 1 (Conestoga wins in penalty kicks, 6-5)

CV 0 1 0 — 1 CC 1 0 0 — 1

First half — 1. CC, Ariel Jones (Cece Fiorentino), 6:57.

Second half — 2. CV, Emily Clapper (Gianna Yurchak, Zoe Shelly), 43:00

Penalty kicks — CV 6, CC 5

Shots on goal — CV 33, CC 16

Corners — CV 5, CC 2

Saves — CV: Lauren Yoder (9), CC: Desiree Leffler (15 saves)

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