SEMINOLE — There is nothing anyone can say to make Seminole feel about Tuesday’s Class 4A region final.
It’s no use noting the Warhawks dictated the pace throughout against Naples Gulf Coast, a team that was ranked 14th in the state and 47th nationally by MaxPreps.
Seminole missed out on its chance for a second straight state semifinal appearance with a 2-1 loss.
It was more how the Warhawks lost that was disheartening. Seminole had two own goals, including the final one with five minutes left in the second overtime.
“I’ve coached club soccer since 1975 and I’ve been here since 1992, and I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a game where we’ve had two own goals,” Warhawks coach Rick Masi said. “And for both own goals to be the only ones the other team scores …
“We basically scored all three goals. It just turned out two went to the other team.”
The first own goal came early in the first half. Seminole overcame that miscue and rallied to tie the score when Liam Rafferty connected on a nice shot with about 12 minutes remaining before halftime.
In the second half, both teams had trouble finding scoring opportunities. The Warhawks did a good job of marking Gulf Coast’s leading scorer, Clayton Curvin, who entered the game with 28 goals.
“We really stifled their attack,” Masi said. “I think our keeper had to make one save all night.”
Seminole had one solid scoring opportunity that missed on a wide shot late in the second half. Both teams battled through one scoreless overtime and appeared to be headed toward penalty kicks with another scoreless battle midway through the second overtime.
Then came one crucial flub that proved costly. Now, Seminole will have to let the painful memories of one that slipped away serve as a powerful motivator in the offseason.
“We controlled the game, we sniffed out their top scorer,” Masi said. “But soccer can be a cruel sport sometimes. We showed a lot of character to stay in the game, and I really thought we were going to penalty kicks. I started writing down the names of the guys we would use.
“We just happened to give one away. Life is not always fair. The hard part is having to go talk to the boys after this kind of game.”