The Solanco girls soccer team's historic season concluded a win away from reaching the once-unthinkable goal of advancing to the state tournament.
Conrad Weiser nipped the Mules 1-0 in a District III third place game on a sun-splashed Saturday afternoon at Tulpehocken High.
"It's heartbreaking to just have it come to an end but we fought so hard and we made history as it is," freshman back Arianna Sieberlich said.
Solanco girls soccer loses in district semifinals, can still earn state tournament berth with win Saturday
The Solanco girls soccer team's dream of winning a district title is over. So is the Mules' 11-game unbeaten streak.
But Solanco still has a lot on the line.
The Mules (14-5-2) can claim a berth in the PIAA Tournament with a win at Conrad Weiser Saturday at noon in the district consolation game.
Solanco's Graci Unger considered neither the ramifications nor the pressure when she stepped to the penalty kick spot with a chance to send her team to the district semifinals.
SLIDESHOW: Sammi Jackson (number 22) scores the game's only goal in Solanco's 1-0 victory over host Lower Dauphin Monday night, October 21.
Solanco's girls soccer team prevailed because the Mules had nothing to lose and believed they could win.
Playing in their first-ever district tournament game, the 16th seeded Golden Mules stunned top-seeded Lower Dauphin 1-0 Monday night, October 21.
Since girls soccer moved to the fall in 2012, no number 16 seed had defeated a number one seed in the 3A District III tournament.
The Solanco girls soccer team poses for a photo following practice last Thursday afternoon. Front row (left-right): Arianna Sieberlich, Hannah Walters, Sammi Jackson, Meg Bailey, Paige Balliet, Alanna Brown, Alana Yoder, Gabi Dolan. Back row (left to right): Coach Matt Jansen, Jordyn Ream, Kyle Groff, Nikki Trout, Kendal Janssen, Maya Dolan, Hannah Wood, Rilyn Saner, Kaylin Fowler, Kayden Bedwell, Graci Unger, Coach Ken Yoder. Not pictured: Alyssa Harpe, Megan Plank.
The Solanco girls soccer program is an overnight success that was 17 years in the making.
There had not been many firsts since the Mules first girls soccer team began play in 2003. That all changed this season.
What was billed as the biggest game in Solanco girls soccer history became the biggest win in Solanco girls soccer history.
The Mules (12-4-2) defeated Donegal 2-0 on Senior Night Tuesday, October 8, to greatly enhance their chances of earning a first-ever district playoff berth.
"I am speechless. I'm not going to lie," said senior midfielder Alana Yoder, who scored the game's first goal and assisted on the other. "We came in hoping for a win. We needed it to make it to districts. All the pieces fell together…We just did what we had to do to move on. We just finished."
Solanco's girls soccer team kept its postseason hopes alive by winning one game and tying two others.
The Mules (11-4-2 overall, 5-2-2 league) tied Cocalico and ELCO, the two section teams it had lost to earlier in the season.
It was a big week for Graci Unger and the Solanco girls soccer team.
Unger scored seven goals as the Mules won four games to improve to 10-4 on the season.
The Solanco girls soccer team bounced back from a disappointing defeat by pulling out a victory in the final five minutes.
Alana Yoder scored in the 75th minute to lift the Mules to a 2-1 triumph over host Kennett Saturday morning.
The Solanco volleyball team has spent the two previous seasons setting a foundation.
Now it's time to see what the Mules can construct.
"We're still in the building process but I have set the bar pretty high because we have tons of talent," Solanco coach Meghan Cross said. "It's a motivated group who wants to play. They've been working well together. We still have a young team. I look forward to the next couple of years. This team will continue to grow in their confidence and their volleyball."