HUDSON - The 13th-ranked Webster City boys' soccer team picked the worst possible time to give a sub-par effort.
And instead of playing for their second state tournament appearance in three years, the Lynx will put the uniforms away for the next 10 months.
Just a step or two slower than usual, WCHS (16-5) fell behind Hudson early, rallied to tie the match but then lost the Class 2A Substate 2 semifinal in double-overtime, 2-1.
It was a bit ironic that the loss came on the exact pitch in which the Lynx won arguably their biggest match in program history two years ago over then highly-ranked Hudson on their way to state.
That fact wasn't lost on WCHS head coach Craig Signorin.
"Two years ago we were the underdogs and we knew what we needed to do to get it done," he said. "(Yesterday) it was the opposite. We looked great on paper, but their whole team wanted it more.
"I think, without a doubt, we are the better team. But in soccer or any sport that doesn't mean you're going to win. You have to show up and play to win."
Hudson (10-9), which advanced to Saturday's substate final against top-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock in Waverly, out shot the Lynx 12-10, including 8-6 on frame.
Off a Lynx free kick, Pirates' junior Tanner Wendling took the ball the other way, went coast-to-coast and rifled a shot off the post and into the net for his second goal midway through the second 10-minute OT session to give Hudson the win.
Wendling put the Pirates ahead 1-0 in the 26th minute and they maintained the edge through halftime.
WCHS knotted the match at 1 in the 59th minute on a Jose Cruz goal off a beautiful assist from Demar Lemus.
"I thought Demar played like an animal out there in the middle," Signorin said.
Lynx freshman goalkeeper Ashton High finished with six saves.
Yes, Signorin was frustrated with the loss, but he was also quick to point out that his squad exceeded his expectations this season.
"I told the boys afterwards that I went home after the first week and almost cried because I didn't know what I was going to do with them," Signorin said. "So the season we had, it's just been outstanding. I'm just privileged and blessed to coach these guys every day."