It was one of those games when time seemed to stand still.
Frontier was clinging to an 8-7 lead with less than five minutes to go in its Section VI Class A girls lacrosse matchup with Lancaster Thursday night. The Legends, winners of the last five sectional titles, had almost erased an 7-2 Falcons lead.
"Oh my gosh, I was praying for that time to run out," senior co-captain Hannah Kennedy of Frontier said.
But the Falcons held on to the ball for almost all of those five minutes, and came away with the dramatic 8-7 victory at Sweet Home High School.
It was the second game of a doubleheader. In the opener, East Aurora took a 10-4 decision from Eden to take the Class D title.
It would be wrong to call the Frontier win an upset. The Falcons were the only undefeated team in Western New York, and they had already beaten Lancaster twice in the regular season. Frontier (now 18-0) knew that this was its best chance in six tries to earn that coveted Section VI title.
"I think we gained confidence the second time we beat Lancaster," Kennedy said. "We won the league, and things were falling into place for us. That's when we realized that this was our year, this was when we were going to do it."
The Falcons played with confidence, scoring four straight goals to take the lead for good in the first half. Lancaster (13-5) tallied five of the game's last six goals to put the outcome in doubt. But Frontier held on to claim its first sectional title since 2011.
"I'm not going to lie - this is the cherry on top," Falcons coach Tim Myslinski said. "It's a reward for the hard work that these girls have done. We demand a lot from these girls - 6 o'clock in the morning practices, Saturdays and Sundays, time in the weight room. When I see these girls crying tears of joy, that means more than anything else."
Frontier had seven different goal scorers, led by Savannah Gonsiorek's pair. Stephanie Herrnreiter and Maddie Mazur had two goals each for Lancaster.
"We had a great season, and those guys are a great team," Lancaster coach Julie Buccieri said. "We gave it everything we had. We came up a little short. A couple of shots didn't fall, and their goalie (Sam McIver) had a great day. We were so close."
There was no such streak of success at stake in the first game of the double-header, because it was the first time that a Class D title game had been contested. The division was added by the state this year.
As it turned out, the addition worked out really well for East Aurora.
"It's so wonderful," said East Aurora coach Christina Schutrum. "It really worked out well for us. Some of the teams in Class D are just beginning, which doesn't make it great for them. But Eden's program keeps getting better and better, so that was fun competition."
It had been a long time between titles for East Aurora (14-2). The Blue Devils won four straight crowns from 2003 to 2006, but had to wait 11 years to collect another Section VI championship patch.
The tone for the game was set almost from the start. Eden (9-7) had a good opportunity on the opening possession but didn't score. From there, the Raiders didn't see the ball very often for the next 15 minutes or so. That allowed East Aurora to get its offense in full flight. Anna Patterson had two goals as the Blue Devils jumped to a 5-0 lead.
"We came out better than we have in any game this season," forward Allison Kasprzyk said. "We really clicked a lot today."
East Aurora had beaten Eden twice in the regular season. The quick lead perhaps didn't give the Raiders much hope that they could turn the tables this time.
"I think a lot of us came into the game not expecting to win, which was good. So we wanted to come out as fast as we could," said Fiona Kavcic of EA, who had two goals.
From there, Kasprzyk made sure her team kept its lead. She scored a goal with eight seconds left in the first half to make it a 6-2 lead and added three more goals in the second half to keep the Raiders a safe distance ahead.
The two teams have little time to enjoy their wins, as the Far West Regionals will be played on Saturday. East Aurora plays Palmyra-Macedon (16-3) at 2 p.m. at Al -High Stadium, while Frontier will take on Pittsford (17-1) at 4 p.m. The Rochester-area squads traditionally have been a huge hurdle for Western New York teams. But no matter what happens on Saturday, no one can take away the Section VI championships away from the winners.
"It's definitely going to be cool to bring the banner back to school and put it up on the wall," Kasprzyk said.