CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- Eighty minutes couldn't determine a winner. Neither could 90 or 100. But after all that, the Cambridge Central School girls soccer team couldn't find the answer.
Maple Hill's Sarah Friess scored the game-winner 15 seconds into the third overtime as the No. 9 Wildcats topped the No. 8 Indians, 3-2, to move on in the Section II, Class C playoffs on Thursday.
"It was a nice finish, up and over [the goalie]," said Maple Hill coach Sheila Gordon. "We've had a lot of bad luck this year, losing games by one goal, but it's nice to have it go our way today."
Tied at 2-2, the teams played two 10-minute overtimes with neither getting the advantage as a cold wind picked up and darkness neared. Maple Hill won the coin toss to take the ball in the third 5-minute extra session and immediately moved up the field in behind the Cambridge defense. Cambridge goalie Courtney Davis was caught in no-man's-land and made the decision to play the ball and when she did, Friess lofted the ball into the net for the decider.
"I knew it was done as soon as she started dribbling past the last defender," said senior Sarah Cuddihy, emotional after the game. "I give her credit, we had to stop her and we couldn't. It's frustrating, we were unlucky on the [sudden victory]."
Heading into the second half, the Indians had the run of play and the chances to go ahead. With 21 minutes remaining in regulation, Cuddihy blasted a shot on net left-footed that clanged the inside of the post and bounced back out, allowing Maple Hill keeper Anna Pulver to make the play and save the goal.
Then with four minutes to go, Cuddihy was one-on-one behind the defense, but Pulver made a terrific diving save to keep her team tied.
In the first overtime, Cuddihy made yet another run into the offensive zone that went begging just over the crossbar.
"That one that hit the bar she was not happy about," said Cambridge coach Rich Sweeney.
The Wildcats had the best shot at a score in the second overtime, with a ball going through the Cambridge crease on a cross, but no one was there to put in the pass.
The teams played earlier this season in the Maple Hill tournament, a game the visitors won in sudden-death overtime.
Montana Brown opened the scoring for the Indians in the 14th minute. Brown made a run down the far side and crossed to a teammate but the ball bounced back and Brown lofted it past an outstretched Pulver.
The Wildcats tied it less than a minute later when Davis ended up out of position during a scramble in the box and eighth-grader Arianna Pepas tapped the ball into the open net.
Maple Hill retook the lead with five minutes left in the first half on a fluky play. Friess took a shot toward the goal that Davis seemed to stop, but the ball took a weird bounce and ended up trickling into the net for a 2-1 advantage.
Molly Gates re-tied the contest with less than a minute remaining, beating her defender with speed and firing a shot left-footed over the keeper to even the match.
Davis had four saves for Cambridge, while Pulver stopped seven shots for the Wildcats.
The Indians end the year at 4-11, and Maple Hill moves on to face No. 1 Schoharie in the next round.
"We have nine seniors and they all had fantastic careers," Sweeney said. "I'm also real excited about the future, the JV team went 16-1 this season."