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TARPON SPRINGS — Through two district and region tournament games, East Lake has made a habit of late-game heroics. Tuesday night in the Class 5A region final against Winter Garden West Orange, that run came to a frustrating end.
After coming up with a tying goal late in regulation, the Eagles narrowly missed a potential winner in the second overtime then gave up a goal minutes later in a 2-1 loss.
“They are a quality side,” East Lake coach Alex Stenson said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they went on to win it. But I thought we matched up well with them. It’s just the little things we do or don’t do that make the difference. We just didn’t finish when we should have.”
There certainly were some chances East Lake (15-4-4) would like to have back. Josh Page barely missed a header in the first half. Cole McKinney’s shot from 10 yards with 35 minutes left sailed just wide. And then there was Taylor Youngblood’s chance with eight minutes left in the second overtime.
Nicholas Vetricek worked his way into the right corner and made a cross about 5 yards in front of the goal. Youngblood was open and Warriors keeper Drew Trautman was beat. But Youngblood’s left-footed redirect went over the crossbar.
“That would have been game over,” Stenson said. “Nicholas made a perfect cross and unfortunately Taylor put it over the bar.”
Three minutes later it was game over.
West Orange (18-0) midfielder Carlos Barragan passed to Greg McDoom, who sprinted past the defense and had a one-on-one shot from 15 yards away against East Lake keeper Jeffrey Richmond. McDoom’s shot whistled past Richmond and into the right side of the net.
“The whole game I just wanted that opportunity,” McDoom said. “I told them to just overhit it and I’ll go get it. Then when it’s one-on-one with the keeper, I know I’ll knock it in.”
McDoom also scored West Orange’s first goal. With 10 minutes to play, he cleaned up a loose ball and had another one-on-one shot against Richmond. From 20 yards, his shot found the net for a 1-0 lead.
But East Lake managed to tie it and send it into overtime five minutes later. West Orange’s Andrew Jabron tried to clear a shot in the goal box, but his header went over Trautman’s head and just under the crossbar for an own goal.
Neither team had a real chance in the first overtime. Then McDoom put away his team’s only chance of the second overtime.