As time wound down to the final seconds in the second overtime period, you could be excused for mentally getting ready for penalty kicks.
The Helias Crusaders and Jefferson City Jays were in their 100th minute of scoreless soccer Tuesday night at the 179 Soccer Park and it was 99.9 percent certain the match would be decided by PKs.
But there was that 00.1 percent chance. And that was just enough as Carter Prenger scored with :03 remaining in the second OT to lift the Crusaders to a 1-0 victory against the Jays.
"You've got to have hope and belief that a ball is going to get through," Prenger said. "A lot of times, it doesn't turn out like that. But that time, it did."
With about 15 seconds remaining in the second overtime, the ball was deep in the Helias defensive end. But the Crusaders got it out and raced toward the Jays end. Prenger got past the Jefferson City defense and when the ball got away from the keeper, he was there to put it in the back of the net.
"We all ran up the field and it just happened to be me in the right place at the right time," Prenger said. "I was there to put it in the back of the net, but it could have been anyone."
It's a play Helias talks about during practice.
"I saw a guy that didn't quit," Helias coach Jay Hebenheimer said. "We stress all the time to make those runs past the defender whether you think they are going to control the ball or not."
It was a momentary letdown that proved costly for the Jays.
"Lack of focus, we may have been thinking we were going to penalty kicks," Jefferson City coach Scott Blake said. "The ball was played through and it took a little skip and it gets past us and one mistake leads to another.
"We had a misplay, then another misplay and then they had a guy there in the right area to finish it off. It was a freak thing."
Jefferson City had won nine straight against Helias, dating back to a 2-1 Crusader victory on Oct. 11, 2010.
"The excitement for the boys, the excitement for me in a big rivalry game is big," Hebenheimer said. "To get beat by the same team nine straight times is hard to take."
In the first half, it looked like Jefferson City was going to extend it to 10 straight wins. The Jays had the better of the play with a 7-3 edge in total shots and a 4-1 advantage in those on net. But Helias keeper Connor Schaefer was able to make those four saves to keep the game scoreless at intermission.
"If it wasn't for Connor, this would have been over at halftime," Hebenheimer said.
Blake said the Jays had only themselves to blame for not having the lead.
"We were our own worst enemy in this game, it's a cruel part of soccer," he said. "Obviously, the biggest thing in the match was we did not score when we had our opportunities. And we had a lot of chances, it was about us not capitalizing."
The Crusaders made some defensive adjustments after halftime to try and slow down the Jays.
"They were very dangerous," Hebenheimer said. "But once we keyed on a couple of their players, I think we controlled the second half and both overtimes."
Schaefer made eight saves in regulation for the Crusaders. Both teams had one shot on goal in the first overtime, while Prenger's goal was the second one in the second overtime.
"We knew we could win it," Prenger said.
Hebenheimer said the Crusaders were content to go to PKs with about three minutes left in the second overtime.
"We didn't want to risk anything, but then we get a dangerous ball and things change," he said.
Helias (3-11) will play today at Rolla. The varsity game will be played first, starting at 6:15 p.m., followed by one half of a JV contest.
Jefferson City (9-7) is back in action today at Sedalia Sacred Heart.
In Tuesday's JV game, Helias defeated Jefferson City 2-1.