HERSHEY - The Central Bucks West girls' soccer team stood in complete silence and stared in disbelief.
Moments earlier, Central Dauphin turned a Bucks' penalty into a 1-0 victory to capture the PIAA Class AAA spring championship at HersheyPark Stadium.
Last night's setback denied C.B. West (20-5-2) its third consecutive state title and eighth overall. It also marked the first time the Bucks lost a state final. They are 6-1-1 in championships.
C.B. West and Central Dauphin were named cochampions last season after playing to a 2-2 tie after 110 minutes.
A year later, the Rams (23-2) nabbed their first outright title.
Central Dauphin's joy and C.B. West's heartbreak occurred in the 60th minute. That's when Bucks defender Liz McGeoy was called for tripping the Rams' Kate Yurkovic inside the box.
As a result, Yurkovic was awarded a penalty kick. The junior forward drilled the ball into the left side of the net beyond goalkeeper Christina Cassidy.
"You had one foul that one person saw and thousands of people didn't see," C.B. West coach Chris Freudig said of the penalty. "But he was the guy with the whistle."
Freudig said that McGeoy actually made a great defensive stop on the play in question.
"What happened was we got all ball," he said. "And like [Yurkovic] had done three or four other times, she took a dive on it. She sold the ref. I give her credit."
Another thing that added to the Bucks' setback was a lack of scoring opportunities.
The Rams had a 6-1 shots-on-goal advantage. Central Buck West's shot on goal came in the 78th minute.
The Bucks' other legitimate scoring opportunity came seconds later.
But senior forward Ashley Klun, who was three yards out, booted the ball over the goal.
Those missed opportunities were far from the minds of Central Bucks West's players and fans. The main topic was the game-changing penalty.
"There are always those controversial calls," Bucks senior midfielder Rachel Sheridan said of the decisive play. "But you can't blame it on the refs. They had an excellent game, and they call what they see. You have to respect their decisions."
Central Dauphin 0 1 - 1
Central Bucks West 0 0 - 0
Goal: CDKate Yurkovic.
Saves: CDAmy Goulder 1. CBWChristina Cassidy 6.