Respite, reprieve, relief: a Rocky Point tale.
There was a diving save of Sayville's would-be winner with 15 seconds left in regulation. Then there was an empty-net opportunity in overtime . . . but the opponent lost her footing just before striking the ball.
And with a minute left in the extra period, the bench groaned and players dropped to their knees when Sayville seemingly ended Rocky Point's field hockey season with a goal . . . waved off for an offensive infraction.
It was then that Maggie DeFrank implored her teammates to relax. "That goal didn't count because this is supposed to be our time," the junior said as the Eagles broke their huddle. "It's meant to be."
DeFrank made those words prophetic a minute later, scoring the winner in double-overtime as No. 2 Rocky Point beat third-seeded Sayville, 3-2, Saturday in a Suffolk Class B semifinal.
The Eagles' four previous seasons were derailed by Sayville, including last year's penalty-stroke epic in the final. But now: "This might be the biggest win we've ever had," coach Katie Bittner said of her burgeoning program. "This is everything we hoped it would be."
Kristine Loscalzo, off a free hit, sent a diagonal pass to the post and DeFrank deflected it into the right corner with 8:54 left. Loscalzo had two assists and Megan Palasek made 11 saves for Rocky Point (14-3).
"Last year was painful and we wanted to get revenge," Loscalzo admitted. They'll have a chance to avenge two regular-season losses to Miller Place on Monday at Sachem North.
Once upon a time -- well, the first half of this contest -- it looked as if the Eagles could avoid playing their eighth one-goal game of the year. Alyssa Milano and Jenna Sanossian scored within 50 seconds of each other to put Rocky Point up 2-0 just 7:04 in. But goals by Taylor Mills and Justine O'Reilly tied it with 15:13 left in regulation, and Gianna Minogue had three saves for Sayville (11-6).
"Coming off last year, this means the world," said Palasek, whose team survived 14 penalty corners in the second half and overtime. "We wanted it for ourselves and everyone who was here last year."
It's now onto the next chapter, in search of a storybook ending.