Marisa Russo stood in a tunnel of echoes just steps from the celebration in her locker room.
The Mitchell sophomore was retracing her steps. The pass from senior Morgan Shellenberger landing almost perfectly on her left foot. The spin move she mastered at practice to shake the defender loose. The shot she fired from her right foot past Countryside keeper Cristina Brabson. Her teammates charging at her.
There were only two things Russo could grasp in the chaos of Tuesday night: Mitchell had defeated Countryside in overtime 2-1, and the Mustangs were one win from the final four.
"It's all a blur," Russo said. "That game was amazing. It's probably one of the most memorable moments I've ever had."
Mitchell (21-3-2) huddled up before overtime determined not to let an opportunity slip away. The Mustangs were inspired by a solid home crowd with student bodies painted in black and gold and a hand injury to senior Rebekah Stockowski in the second half.
Countryside (12-7-1) broke through less than two minutes in on a sharp through pass from Tanya Bawkins to fellow freshman Michelle Primiani, who beat a pair of defenders for a 1-0 lead. That was just the sixth goal the Mustangs had allowed since Nov. 27, and it got their attention. Then in the 16th minute Russo brought the Mustangs even with a shot from 30 yards out. Suddenly, extending the unbeaten streak to 13 games seemed possible.
Countryside had an opportunity to possibly win it after a free kick was awarded to the Cougars just outside Mitchell's 18-yard line with six minutes left, but the free kick was deflected by Mustangs keeper Laura Seletos - one of five saves - off a Countryside player out of bounds.
"Marisa Russo's deadly if she gets a foot on the ball," Mitchell coach Karl Kukec said. "... I told everyone we need to score. ... She took the one chance and she got it."