East Lyme - It would have been perfectly reasonable had a celebratory pile formed somewhere on Dick North Field late Monday afternoon, commemorating a victory in what was the final home game of the season and for some high school careers.
Or perhaps because a trip to the state semifinals is forthcoming.
Or maybe even because it was one step closer to finding warmth, amid the unseasonable rain and wind.
And yet the girls' lacrosse players of second-seeded East Lyme High School were somewhat subdued following their 11-9 victory over No. 10 Brookfield in the Class M quarterfinals.
"It's not OK until we win the state championship," senior Madison Cohen said.
The Vikings, who fell in overtime to Hand of Madison in last season's semifinals, take another swing Wednesday. East Lyme faces No. 3 Wilton at Fairfield Warde at 7 p.m.
"We just told the kids 'this is where we were last year and we can't be satisfied,'" East Lyme coach Phil Schneider said. "We want to take the next step."
Cohen scored four goals and Jill Bartlett added three goals and two assists. But it wasn't until the final seconds that the Vikings could exhale.
East Lyme led 5-1 in the first half, 8-4 at halftime and 10-4 with 14 minutes left before Brookfield crept its way into concern. The Bobcats trailed 11-9 when East Lyme goalkeeper Jane Bartlett denied Brookfield's Jenna Bellano at close range with 17 seconds remaining.
"Jane played great," Schneider said. "She's been working through some things that all goalies do. But she was the difference maker. You need that now. At this point, it's like the NCAA tournament. Survive and advance."
Kiki Ryan scored twice for East Lyme, including a goal with 7:53 left that made it 11-6. Erin Fritz and Erin DeLucca also scored. Fritz and DeLucca are part of the senior class that have their last chance to hang a championship banner.
Schneider said his team didn't take long to make sense of last season's loss to Hand. It was the first time the Vikings reached the semifinals since the state championship season of 2006.
"Skill-wise there's no difference between this year's team and last year's team,' Cohen said. "But I think we have more drive because of what happened last year. We want this really bad. We want this more than any other team in the state."