It's always difficult to watch, but it happens with each passing season in all sports. A group comes together with the goal of winning a state title, only to fall short despite the players doing everything they could to make it happen.
This time, it was the No. 2 Arundel girls soccer team. The Wildcats played fantastic in Thursday's Class 4A East Section I final against No. 7 Severna Park. But as good as they were with their possession game to create scoring chances, the Falcons were just as good at defending.
After 100 minutes of scoreless play, the game was decided on penalty kicks, with Severna Park making one more to advance.
The Wildcats, who were led by 10 seniors and finished the season 14-2-1, were understandably distraught. It's the second straight year their season came to a disappointing end.
Last year, they were less than a minute away from reaching the state tournament when South River scored a tying goal in the region title game and then won in overtime. With that experience on their resume, the Wildcats believed this would be their season, but it wasn't meant to be.
The team, led by seniors Clarissa Kirsch-Downs, Emani Silva, Becky Frost and Tiffany Dayton-Hegedus, can one day look back and be proud of the accomplishments the season brought, including the Anne Arundel County championship.
"It's an amazing group of kids -- 10 seniors," Arundel coach Laura Coe said. "Most of them have been with me for three years, so they've had time to play together and grow together. And on and off the field, they are truly a family."