ROBBINSVILLE, N.J. - It was a goal that meant nothing and showed everything.
With time running out in the lacrosse state championship game, Tori Jordan maneuvered through traffic near midfield and passed the ball to Alyse Maiden.
Maiden dodged one defender and buried a shot that hit the back of the net as the clock stopped at 0:01.
"We never give up," Maiden said.
Everybody says that. But scoring a goal with one second remaining in a 19-13 loss in the biggest game of your career is the very definition of dogged determination.
It was that way all day for Jordan, Maiden and fellow senior captain Kirstyn Urbas. The Washington Township trio combined for 12 goals and seven assists in a long, frustrating struggle against North Jersey champion Bridgewater-Raritan.
"They set a new standard for this program," Washington Township coach Sandy Stockl said of her senior captains. "They were great leaders in terms of their work ethic, the things they did in the off-season, the way they showed the way for our younger players. I'm so proud of them."
It was a bright, warm morning that dawned with great promise for Washington Township.
The Minutemaids had won nine of their last 10 games. They had beaten Olympic American rival and defending state champion Cherokee in the South Jersey final. They had captured the first sectional title in the history of the program.
"We had 100 percent of our town behind us," Maiden said. "It was so exciting to be a part of it."
Bridgewater-Raritan was a difficult matchup for Washington Township. The Panthers' speed and skill in the offensive zone created big problems for the Minutemaids' defense.
As Bridgewater-Raritan kept scoring, Washington Township began to press a bit with possession. Unforced turnovers created opportunities for the North Jersey champions.
"It was a very emotional game," Urbas said. "I think our emotions got the better of us."
All the Minutemaids kept battling, but their senior tri-captains led the way. Urbas scored six goals to raise her season total to 75.
"She plays with her heart on her sleeve," Stockl said.
Maiden scored four goals to jack her season total to 62. Jordan scored twice to bring her total to 54.
All three scored more than 100 goals in their careers. All three were part of teams that won the last two Olympic American titles, with a shot at a third with a victory over Cherokee in a rescheduled game Tuesday or Wednesday. All three have committed to play Division I lacrosse next season.
"This team made history," Jordan said. "It was hard to lose today, but if you think about it like that, it's the greatest feeling in the world. This was the greatest experience of my life, playing with these girls."
Bridgewater-Raritan's lead was 19-10 with three minutes to play. Then Urbas scored. Then Maiden scored. Then Jordan raced downfield and passed to Maiden, who scored one second before the horn they didn't want to hear.
Stockl knows Washington Township has to replace a lot of goals next season. But that's the least of the coach's worries.
She knows the Minutemaids are losing a lot more than that.