It was tied at the end of regulation. It was the tied at the end of the first overtime. It was tied at the end of the second overtime. It was even tied at the end of the first set of penalty strokes.
That's how close Friday's NCAA Division I Field Hockey national semifinal between the Syracuse Orange and the North Carolina Tar Heels was.
But in a sudden victory stroke-off that followed the first set of penalty strokes, junior midfielder Alyssa Manley scored the game-winning goal to send Syracuse to the National Championship on Sunday.
What a game! https://t.co/FNdQy6Hroc— Orange Field Hockey (@CuseFH) November 21, 2014
"That was an amazing game for both teams," head coach Ange Bradley told cuse.com. "It was competitive to the very end. I am happy we were able to get the result and advance."
North Carolina struck first in the game's 16th minute, when Emma Bozek scored off of a penalty corner.
But Syracuse's very own Emma -- Emma Russell -- answered before the end of the half, rebounding her own shot and sliding it past goalkeeper Shannon Johnson in the 34th minute. The Orange then pulled ahead in the 48th minute, thanks to Manley and Lieke Visser, the former of whom assisted the latter to give Syracuse a 2-1 lead.
With under 10 minutes left, the Tar Heels pulled their goalie for an extra field player. And in the 65th minute, Nina Notman tallied her own goal to even the score and ultimately send the game to overtime.
Despite Laura Hurff receiving a yellow card (and thus forcing the Orange to play a man down), the game remained tied after the first overtime. And after neither team scored in the second overtime, the game was sent to penalty strokes.
In the first set of penalty strokes, both the Orange and Tar Heels managed three goals in five tries, which meant a sudden victory stroke-off. Syracuse goalie Jess Jecko turned away North Carolina's first attempt in the stroke-off, and Manley followed with the game-winner, securing the Orange a spot in the National Championship against the Connecticut Huskies.
With a win tomorrow, the Orange would become the first team in Syracuse history to win a women's national championship in any sport. The game is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. in College Park, Maryland. Catch the live stream on NCAA.com.