And that was a good thing.
The Warde senior lacrosse captains said they had never played in a game as hotly-contested as the Mustangs 9-8 home loss to Westhill on Thursday.
"I never thought I'd play in a game like that," Wicke said. "In three years I've never had a game where I fought like that."
To take an FCIAC tournament contender right down to the wire illustrates just how far Warde has come. A year ago, the Mustangs lost to Westhill 13-3 -- one of 15 defeats in a season that saw them outscored 209-37.
But Warde has flipped the script this season, winning seven games and qualifying for the state tournament for the first time in its history.
"It's meant the world to me," said Marx, a defended bound for Bryant-University in Rhode Island. "Last year was the lowest point for us, and it's really good to bounce back and be the first team to make states."
Warde's sixth-year head coach Tom Cunningham had been cautiously optimistic months before the season started. As early as December, he said he thought his club would make the state playoffs.
"We've been building and building and building to this point," Cunningham said last week. "We got to where we want to be."
Before the season began, skeptics would point to the Mustangs FCIAC record -- they were beaten by an average of 14-2 in 2011-- and their inability to win more than six games in their history. Pundits needed to see it to believe Warde could be a playoff team.
But Warde silenced many of those doubters on opening night, when it beat Trumbull 8-5. Competitive losses to defending Class S state champion St. Joseph and traditional FCIAC power Greenwich raised eyebrows, too.
"It's all a testament to these kids," Cunningham said. "They've worked hard, they've been dedicated and they want to be here."
On offense, Warde has been led all season by Wicke. He and senior Andrew Starkie are the only seniors that start at attack. Sophomores Kyle Scheetz and Austin Armas and junior Charlie Edison have shown that Warde's offense will have both experience and talent when the two senior attacks graduate.
"We have a solid group," Cunningham said. "We even have some freshmen up playing. The program can only get better."
In fact, Warde moving forward should be fine at all positions. Sophomore Mike Pehota has won faceoffs at a 48 percent clip while sophomore goalie Brad Nerreau has given the Mustangs defense stability. Before the Westhill game, Cunningham's six seniors were honored. They stuck with it through the lean years and have reaped the rewards in 2012.
"What they've put into the program means a lot," the coach said. "They're going off on a great note, and they've been great mentors to our younger players."
Warde has accomplished many of its goals and has the opportunity to attain one more tonight. The Mustangs trek across town to visit arch rival Ludlowe at 7 p.m. Warde has never beaten the Falcons, and Ludlowe last year mauled the Mustangs 15-2 on opening night.
"It's another game, but it's a big game," Cunningham said.
"It's another team we haven't beaten in my six years with the program."
For the Warde seniors, the game against Ludlowe means something different.
"It's payback," Marx said.
The last time the Mustangs played at Taft Field, they led 5-1 in the second half. Ludlowe rallied to win 6-5.
"We were so close," Wicke said. "We weren't a second-half team that year ... I think we can take it this year."