NORWICH The Beaver River girls soccer team walked off the field to a heros welcome Saturday afternoon.
It followed a 2-0 loss to the unbeaten, top-ranked team in the state, Lansing, in the quarterfinals of the Class B state playoffs.
But rather than mourn over what could have been, the large Beavers contingent at Norwich High School celebrated the magical season that was.
The legacy will go on, Beaver River freshman Kaylee Olmstead said. 2013 will always be a special soccer season for us at Beaver River, and well come back next year and try to make it another one.
Lansing scored in the first minute of the game when Maura McCartney came out of a scramble in front of the net with a wide open look. She booted the ball past Beaver River goalie Mariah Abel to give the Bobcats (19-0) a quick lead. It was the first goal allowed in five games by the Beavers (10-7-3) a stretch that included four straight postseason shutouts.
The last time Beaver River was scored on was Oct. 19 in a Frontier League regular-season game against South Jefferson.
Its a tone setter, theres no doubt, said Lansing coach Eric Stickel, whose team will advance to its first state final four on Saturday at a time and location to be determined.
We havent let too many goals in ourselves and we pride ourselves on that as well. We always want to get the first goal and when we do that, good things typically happen.
The Bobcats tacked on a goal in the 24th minute for a 2-0 lead. Kassie Reimer scored from Anna Kirkwood.
Abel made some key saves, finishing with 12 overall, and the Beavers defense played with physicality and aggressiveness to keep the game in reach.
Our girls played a strong game, Beaver River co-coach Tina Becker said. They were in it until the end. Thats the No. 1 team in the state and we held them to a 2-0 game.
They played with a lot of heart and soul, and we learned some things that we can work on for next season and make it just as good, if not a better one, she added.
The Beavers came out aggressively and were whistled for pushing twice in the opening minutes. Its just part of our competitive spirit that comes out, Olmstead said.
The Beaver River offense created some chances that came up just a bit short.
Senior Brittany Widrick placed two throw-ins right in front of the goal on back-to-back possessions late in the first half. But Lansing goalie Sarah Gisler corralled both after the first bounce.
The Beavers also missed on a direct kick and couldnt turn any of their four corner kicks into a goal.
This year we made history so as sad as it is right now, knowing that we are done for the season, we made history, sophomore Mackenzie Sauer said.
Lansing played ball control for much of the second half.
Beaver Rivers best scoring chance came with about 15 minutes left. Olmstead received the ball on a breakaway on the far right sideline and put a difficult shot just a few feet wide of the net.
The game marked the first in the state tournament for Beaver River. The program captured its first Section 3 Class C title in the process, despite entering the tournament as a fourth seed in a split bracket.
I still think its something that will probably take a while to even digest, Beaver River co-coach Tracy Adams said. The kids are already excited, but you really look at the history of Beaver River soccer, and its just a great accomplishment for these young ladies.
It was a fun ride, she added.