The Tyler Junior College Apaches are on their way to the NJCAA Division I National Championship Tournament semifinals and the Harford Community College Fighting Owls are heading home, where they will probably replay the closing moments of Wednesday's game again and again.
Less than a minute into overtime, Tyler's Shaylee Anaya took a shot that deflected off a Harford player and headed toward the net, where it was met by a diving Fighting Owls goalkeeper, Crystal Kline.
It was ruled that the ball crossed the line, giving No. 2 Tyler a 2-1 overtime victory at Eastern Florida State College in what was a highly competitive, well-played game on both sides on the final day of pool play.
"I've been here enough to know, unfortunately, that luck plays a part. But that's not how we want this thing to end," Tyler coach Corey Rose said. "We wanted to win it on the terms that need to be. Unfortunately, the refs hold a big part of that.
"Our first game, we had two PKs called against us. I thought we played really well against a very well-reared team. I thought we kept our composure throughout the game and into the second half. We put the ball there. The ball close to the line is what the game's about.
"If we get a call that goes our way, I'm not going to argue it. But do we want to win that way on a questionable (call)? No."
Harford (19-2), which took a 1-0 first half lead on a goal by Rachel Bohli, came within minutes of pulling off the upset. But a handball in the box – following a spectacular save by Kline – gave the Apaches a penalty kick with 3:58 remaining.
Tyler's Jullia Trabach put the PK home to send the game into overtime and, eventually, the controversial finish.
"It's disappointing to lose that way," Harford coach Jason Muffoletto said. "Our only two losses of the season were that way – in overtime, and on video.
"Both losses were the same play on video, and I think the video will tell the whole story."
The Fighting Owls coach said he was quite happy with the way his seventh-seeded team played on Wednesday.
"I thought we played great," Muffoletto said. "We knew it was going to be a hard game. I'm really proud of them. We almost played the perfect game, except for some X factors.
"It was disappointing. I thought we did everything right today."
The Apaches certainly played well, too, despite falling behind 1-0 in the first half on Bohli's 28th goal of the season on an assist from Alexandra Adams.
At halftime, Rose asked the Apaches if they believed.
"Oh yes, I definitely believed," Anaya said. "Each and every one of us put our hands in and said we were going to fight for each other and believe. It was for our college."
As for her shot that led to the game-winning goal, Anaya said she and her teammates wanted to press the action.
"I saw a player coming, so I cut it back," Anaya said. "And then, with my right foot, I just ripped a shot to the short post … and just hoped it would go in."
And now the Apaches will head to the semifinals, where they will get a shot at their third national championship.
"It feels amazing," Anaya said. "It's like I want to cry because I'm so excited, I'm shaking. It was a very good game. I'm happy for us."