WILMINGTON — The glass slipper finally shattered.
The 13th-ranked White River Valley boys soccer team, which had upset No. 4 West Rutland and No. 5 Arlington earlier in the tournament, was eliminated by top-seeded Twin Valley 2-1 in Wednesday's Division 4 semifinal.
"This was one of the most exciting games I've ever coached in," said Twin Valley's Buddy Hayford. "My guys don't quit. They keep fighting."
With 13:19 remaining, Robby McShinsky's breakaway goal gave the underdogs from South Royalton a 1-0 lead.
"We're a team of destiny," said one of the players on the visiting bench.
But Twin Valley would pull even at the 3:06 mark, when Colin McHale converted on a penalty kick following a handball in the box.
And 30 seconds later, Aaron Soskin played a ball along the right side to Aidin Joyce, who got behind the defense and fired a shot past keeper Dominic Craven.
"I had no doubt that Colin would score on that," noted coach Hayford. "That was just a beautiful shot by Aidin."
Defensive backs Izaak Park and Carder Stratton put on a show in the first half. Twin Valley's star wowed the crowd with some long throw-ins and powerful boots, while Stratton cleared the ball out of danger on a few occasions.
With Twin Valley's drum section making noise at midfield, Liam Wendell made three saves for the hosts in the second half. The sophomore just didn't have any chance when McShinsky got loose on a breakaway and tucked a shot just inside the left post.
"They packed the back on us. It's tough to score with nine players defending like that," explained Hayford.
However, a handball in the box gave McHale a chance to tie the score with a PK and then Joyce became the hero 30 seconds later.
The Wildcats (9-1) will play the Sharon-Proctor winner in Saturday's state championship game on Applejack Field in Manchester.
Twin Valley roster: Coach — Buddy Hayford. Players — Liam Wendell, Izaak Park, Ayden Loos, Cooper Adams, Noah Dornburgh, Finn Fisher, Luke Rizio, Colin McHale, Aiden Joyce, Matt Hammond, Aaron Soskin, Jerry Mosher, Garrett Cunningham, Cody Magnant.