Last updated: February 19. 2013 5:46PM - 307 Views

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A first-shot goal, a last-shot goal and a double-overtime thriller.

It's more a yellow brick road to the state final instead of a leisurely drive to view the fall foliage.

Crestwood has taken winning to a different place once the state tournament started, claiming victory in ways it never had during the season.

They are like barely wins, junior defender Megan McCole said. The difference is we keep on working, we push to the end. Even when we were down against Greenwood, we kept in it and just kept working. We knew we were going to get back in it. We all have that kind of faith in each other.

That faith shows.

A team that faced little stress during district play has excelled in the pressure cooker of win-or-go-home action.

We just keep fighting the whole time, sophomore midfielder Casey Cole said. It's easy for us to be that way because we're family, we all love each other. We want to do our best for each other and we want to win for our two senior captains (Chandler Ackers and Rachael Ritz).

The first shot of the second half was the only goal against Hamburg. A shot with two seconds on the clock eliminated Selinsgrove. The last shot of the second overtime against Greenwood sparked a Crestwood celebration.

While it's scoring that caps these fantastic finishes, it takes more than goals to create the season-extending wins.

We have such a great defense, Cole said. Without (goalie) Dallas (Kendra), we wouldn't be going anywhere.

McCole turned aside a sure Hamburg score, reaching across an open goal to stop a shot ticketed to tie the game. Elizabeth Dessoye turned momentum in the game with a steal and rush upfield 1-on-3, one which ended with a Crestwood corner.

Against Selinsgrove, a smart play keeping the ball in action during the final seconds set up the winning goal. Greenwood saw the potency of the Comets' depth, as Daniella Callaghan raced onto the field on a player change and went right downfield to force a corner.

We honestly just come out with heart and with our skill, and it just happens for us, junior forward Marissa Surdy said of the variety of game-changing plays.

The Comets played 20 games up to the district final. Only one, at Selinsgrove in early September, was a one-goal game. The district final against Wyoming Seminary was a 2-1 Comets' win, but the game wasn't an elimination affair, as both teams knew they were advancing to states.

Since then, Crestwood has faced unknown opponents. The Seals appeared on the slate again, but teams evolve 20 games later in the season. Now, it's last year's runner-up, Villa Maria, which looks to do better against a District 2 foe after losing to Wyoming Seminary in last year's final.

Playing Sem, we've got a pretty good rivalry between us, junior forward Maury Cronauer said. We know each other and they are always big games. This game (Villa), we don't even need to know about them. We just have to make sure to play our game as well as we can.

All I know about it is that it's an all-girls school and they're very good, McCole said. That's enough for me. I don't like to look at stats. I just like to show up and play the game. We'll play our best and they play their best.

There is little left to do, outside of taking the field and playing for gold -- a trip to the Lehigh Valley made possible by seemingly every Comet.

Those last few (state titles) -- 1999, 2003, 2004 -- all had dramatic endings. We've already had a couple of those this year, Crestwood coach Elvetta Gemski said. Keeping their poise -- those kinds of moments bring it out. Each one of them, on offense and defense. The goal line saves, the winning goals. Most times, it's the coach saying it. This team has experienced it.

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