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LANSINGBURGH — For a moment, the long-awaited victory seemed within the grasp of Fort Ann.

Late in a tie game, Sarah Paige sent a pass over to Amanda Godfrey, who put a shot on net. The ball was behind the goalie. It seemed destined to reach the goal.

Just a few feet from the goal, Northville defender Jenna Forsey somehow got to the ball and knocked it away. Northville’s Kerrigan Groff scored a few minutes later and the Falcons went on to a 3-1 victory over the Cardinals in the Class D championship game of the Section II Girls Soccer Tournament on Wednesday.

That one moment seemed to sum up the Cardinals’ frustrations with Section II championship games. They’ve been to seven of them — a remarkable accomplishment by itself — but they’ve been denied victory in all of them.

This time, they came tantalizingly close. The outcome hinged on Forsey’s defensive save and the goal that wasn’t.

“I thought it was in,” Fort Ann coach Jason Humiston said. “I didn’t even see where the girl came from. That’s a game-changer. If it goes in, I probably stuff the box (with defenders).”

Northville had the advantage in possession up to that point, and when the Falcons had their own scoring chance at the other end of the field, they made it stick. Groff scored from the right side of the box on a second effort with 5:11 left in regulation.

Humiston took Renee Allen out of the goal and made her a field player in a desperate attempt to create some offense. The Cards pressed a little in the next couple of minutes but Hannah Coupas scored with 59 seconds left to put the game away.

Northville had the majority of possession and more shots. The Cards had trouble containing Coupas in the middle, and that helped the Falcons keep the pressure on.

“We didn’t do a very good job on No. 9,” Humiston said of Coupas. “She’s a very good player. She beat us to a lot of balls. She started dictating how everything went single-handedly.”

But the team controlling the ball doesn’t always win in soccer, and the Cards had their chances.

Despite playing the first half most in their end, the Cardinals got the first goal of the game when Godfrey set up Paige for a blast from the right side. It was Paige’s 45th goal of the year.

But less than a minute later, Northville took advantage of a defensive lapse and Brytney Moore made it a 1-1 game.

The Cards finished the season 13-5-1. Overall, it was a good season, the kind of season many other teams would have been happy with, but they’re still waiting to reach the top of the mountain.

“I just told (the team) I was proud of them,” Humiston said. “Obviously we didn’t accomplish our goal, but to keep coming back is impressive. You never know when you’ll get back here.”

Class D Final

Fort Ann (13-5-1) 1 0 — 1

Northville 1 2 — 3

First half — 1, Fort Ann, Sarah Paige (Amanda Godfrey), 34:03. 2. Northville, Brytney Moore, 34:40.

Second half — 3, Northville, Kerrigan Groff, 74:49. 4, Northville, Hannah Coupas, 79:01.

Goalies — Renee Allen (FA), Allison Keith (FA), Emily Shepard (N)., latest News Around the world presents the latest information of national, regional, and international, politics, economics, sports, automotive, and lifestyle.

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