“We didn’t have as many girls as we usually do,” Sullivan said. “I wasn’t even standing in the right position. Usually, we have three girls stacked up and then one behind them, and I just came to the side instead.”

Her swing-and-miss wasn’t her first of the afternoon, either.

“I did that when we first got here,” Sullivan said. “We were doing a drill we usually do (in warmups), and I took it, and I said to myself, ‘Oh, I hope that doesn’t happen in the game.'”

Turns out, it didn’t matter.

“I’m 23, I think I had three heart attacks near the end,” Traip coach Kellee Cribby said. “That was a great team, a great opponent, and we had to earn that win. Both teams fought hard.”

Traip is the third lower seed in Class C South to win a quarterfinal game this week. The Rangers () will travel to face No. 3 Oak Hill in a regional semifinal in Litchfield on Saturday. In the other half of the bracket, No. 5 NYA upended No. 4 Mountain Valley, and No. 8 Lisbon knocked out No. 1 Dirigo on Tuesday.

“It’s a year of upsets,” St. Dom’s coach Brian Kay said. “It’s just been a wild playoffs.”

Kay’s team earned the No. 2 seed in Class C South this season, and many of the Saints were experiencing a true playoff atmosphere for the first time.

“They’re a good little team, you can’t take that away from them,” Kay said. “But, season’s over. It comes to the mental game, and the age, it makes a difference.”

And it still took last-second heroics from the Rangers to even force overtime Wednesday. Faced with a 2-1 deficit and time ticking under 30 seconds, the Rangers pressed forward and fired the ball into the St. Dom’s circle. Officials whistled the Saints for an infraction in their defensive circle with four seconds to play in the contest, resulting in an untimed penalty corner in Traip’s favor.

On the ensuing play, freshman Madison Andrews took a feed from classmate Mia Perez and lofted the ball into the cage from five yards out to forced overtime.

The teams battled scoreless through a pair of 7-on-7 overtimes before heading to penalty corners.

Slow and steady

Through the opening half, the teams bottled each other up in the midfield. Both teams fired three shots on the cage. Traip keeper Taylor Kashmer deflected all three in her direction, and Saints’ keeper Abby Slonina kicked two aside, while defender Rhiannon Hersey swiped one off the line to keep things scoreless.

The Saints struck first just 3:18 into the second half when Kylie Leavitt snuck a shot through traffic and between Kashmer’s pads. Traip pushed back, but couldn’t solve the Saints’ defense.

“I felt like we just kept waiting for that ball,” Cribby said. “Once they started to score, the light went on. I’ve been telling them all week, ‘You have to score, you have to win or the season’s over.’ When they realized that their season was on the line, they wanted to fight for it.”

Jessica Segura finally broke through for the Rangers with just 3:33 to play in regulation on a third chance off Slonina’s pads.

The tie was short-lived, though, as Callie Samson put the home team back in front just 1:01 later, setting up the late-game penalty corner situation.


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