The Springfield High School boy's soccer team had never won state title for the school's trophy case and on Saturday in Randolph, got their first opportunity to do something about it since a 2005 finals loss to U-32.
And speaking of the number-four seeded (12-3-1) Raiders, guess who the Cosmos had to get through in the semi finals, in order to earn a trip back to the finals this season? You guessed it, U-32.
In the semi-final match up against the Raiders in Springfield, the Cosmos certainly had their hands full with a very "game" U-32 team that was missing two key offensively threats and sporting a freshman goal keeper.
In a tightly contested match that was tied at one through regulation, the Cosmos outlasted U-32 in sudden-death penalty kicks, 5-4, to earn the trip to the Division II state championship on Saturday in Randolph.
Trailing 1-0 in the first half, the Cosmos' John Kendall had tied the score with a twisting shot just inside the left post, before James Karkowski hit the final penalty kick to advance the Cosmos to their second state finals appearance in five years.
In the Division II championship match up against number-seven seeded Missisquoi Valley Union High School, the Cosmos finally captured their school's first-ever boys' soccer state championship with a 1-0, double-overtime win over a very tough Thunderbird squad.
Missisquoi had moved down from Division I this season and knocked off both he number-two and three seeds to reach the finals, therefore the Cosmos were not fooled by the so-called "lower seeded" Thunderbirds.
"We know what we have to do, regardless of what anyone is seeded," Springfield coach Paul Kendall said in a pre-game interview. "They have done a great job in beating two, higher seeds to get here. We just have to play our game and keep doing the things that got us here."
After the Cosmos struck a long shot on net in the opening seconds of the match, both teams seemed to go through a feeling out period early on, although Springfield did manage a couple early shots from John Kendall, Derek Graham.
In fact, Missisquoi did not register a shot on goal until nearly 15 minutes into the game.
In what would end up a scoreless half and a building trend, both teams got a few quality shots on net, including a Graham header inside the box that just went wide of the left post, a Ryan Brady blast from roughly 10 yards out that was stopped by T-bird keeper Bert Benkerk and a Dillon Shedick shot for the T-birds that Cosmos keeper Jordan Pfenning had to push by the post.
The second half would see much of the same, a lot of physical play in the middle of the field with both teams getting a few quality shots, but nothing to show for it on scoreboard.
In the waning minutes of regulation, the Cosmos mounted some good pressure looking for the tie-breaker, including two corner kicks in the last two minutes, but couldn't knock one home in regulation.
The same can also be said for the first, ten-minute overtime as the match remained tense, deliberate and scoreless, despite three corner kicks from the Cosmos that all came up empty.
However, in the waning moments of the second overtime and with his back to the goal, Cosmos senior Ryan Brady lofted a shot towards the T-bird net that somehow found it's way into the net to end the game and give Springfield its' first-ever boys' soccer state championship.
"We settled down in the second half and tried to keep the ball on the ground," Cosmos coach Paul Kendall said after the match. "We finally began to play our style, more passing and more possession play."
The champion Cosmos finish the season with an impressive 15-2 mark and of course, the championship hardware!
Clockwise from top, Angelo Jardina works in the semi's, Ryan Brady is surrounded in title game, John Kendall looks to make a play and Derek Graham flies in the box in an attempt to score.