HERSHEY - Greenwood couldn't produce a goal in 60 minutes of play against Oley Valley in the District 3 Class AA field hockey championship Saturday.
But neither could the Lynx. The game stayed without a goal for 75 minutes, and then 90.
And so the title would be decided on penalty strokes - and it was decided in favor of the Berks County team, which converted two strokes to Greenwood's one for a 1-0 victory at Milton Hershey School's Henry Hershey Field.
It was the second time in as many years that Greenwood finished as the runner-up, the first two times the Wildcats have been to the finals. Greenwood already clinched a state playoff spot, and will take on Line Mountain), the winner of a play-in game between the runners-up from Districts 4 and 11, Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Hershey High School.
Oley Valley won its seventh title overall, and first since 2008.
Although it wasn't the winner, the key stroke for the Lynx was in the second round, when Oley Valley's Elaine Ritschard matched Lauren Fried, who gave the Wildcats an edge with the first try in the best-of-five shootout. Greenwood goalie Katie Osborne had a glove on the ball, but it went off her and into the cage.
*Greenwood plays Line Mountain Tuesday in Hershey
That was the first of the two strokes that the Lynx put away, but it was huge. Skyler Fretz lofted a ball into the cage in the do-or-die fifth round, delivering Oley Valley the win.
The opening of the penalty stroke round offered Greenwood its second crack head-to-head with Lynx goalie Rachel Hartman - a stroke was awarded in the first minute of the second overtime when Hartman covered the ball. She made up for her miscue with a stick save on Brittany Fleisher's effort.
"She was fabulous, she was," Greenwood coach said of Hartman's effort in the game, in which she faced 15 shots.
In the shootout, it was the offense that struggled most - two Greenwood strokes went wide of the cage.
"You just have to count on your strokers to do the job. You expect the goalies to do a good job - you don't expect it to be 5-4 in strokes," Houser said. "You make a couple of them and hope maybe you can sneak one of them in. That's basically what they did."
Greenwood had more offensive opportunities through 90 minutes of play - two halves of regulation and two 7-on-7 overtime periods.
Greenwood played a dominant first half, garnering eight penalty corners and logging the same number of shots. Both teams tired in the second, but the Wildcats were put in a rough spot when Mackenzie Wirth was shown a yellow card eight minutes into that half.
"We couldn't get any offense because every time we'd get near the circle we'd get fouled and they'd be able to set up the defense. And our corner game today, let's face it, was not very good," Houser admitted. "We had opportunities, but if you don't put the ball in the cage you don't win. That's the bottom line."
But also playing a role was what Houser said was an astounding number of fouls by Oley Valley, yet the only card issued to the Lynx was a green warning to the coach for dissent early in the contest. But eight minutes into the second half, Greenwood lost its senior midfielder for five minutes - infuriating her coach.
"I really thought we could do what we wanted, up to the point where we got a card and had to play short. That gave them some space to operate and gave them some energy. That really turned the game around," he said. "I think we just were out of gas by that time. I think we knew by that time we missed our opportunity."