Roughly 10 yards and a clear path separated Alyssa Battaglia and her Mt. Lebanon team from everything they strived for the past year.
Leading Quaker Valley by a goal with less than three minutes remaining, Battaglia had a free position shot. Get a goal and a WPIAL Division I girls lacrosse championship is as good as theirs.
A miss, however, would prolong the uncertainty that had begun to linger in a game the Blue Devils had previously controlled.
Battaglia was at her best throughout the game and especially in the biggest moments, leading Mt. Lebanon to a 9-7 victory Thursday night against the Quakers at Highmark Stadium.
Battaglia's decisive goal was her fifth of the game, marking the most recent standout performance in a career that has been defined by them.
"She started with us her freshman year on, she's been our best player in the playoffs from her freshman year on," Mt. Lebanon coach Brian Kattan said. "She looks to herself to lead and she did a great job again tonight. She averages a lot of goals and she deserves every one of them."
The WPIAL championship was the program's first since 2006 and it helped the Blue Devils (20-0) maintain their perfect record. Megan Gibbons added two goals in the win.
The close loss was the first of the year for the Quakers (18-1), who were making their first appearance in the WPIAL championship.
"We did our best and I'm proud of the way the girls handled themselves," Quaker Valley coach Nellie Kraus said.
Three Quaker Valley players -- Annie Henry, Lexie Meanor and Aubrey Bouchard -- each scored two goals in a balanced offensive performance.
Mt. Lebanon led by as many as three goals in the final six minutes, but the Quakers scored twice in 45 seconds to trim their deficit to 8-7 with 4:24 left to play.
Searching for a goal to provide some kind of cushion, the Blue Devils drew a foul near the Quaker Valley goal and from there, Battaglia took care of the rest.
"We always practice free position shots and I love taking them," Battaglia said. "Its definitely a strength of mine, so I was happy we got in that situation so I could give us another goal."
Craig Meyer: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG.