SEMINOLE — Osceola held on Friday night for a 1-0 victory over host Seminole for the Class 4A-10 district crown, the Warriors’ third straight district title. And the fact that it came against rival Seminole (20-4-1) on its own field, where the Warriors had lost 1-0 earlier in the season, made it all the sweeter.
“This was a huge deal; everyone at school has been talking about (the match),” junior defender Gabby Holcombe said. “We knew what we had to do to have home-field advantage in the playoffs.”
The Warriors (13-2-2) will indeed have home field as they host East Bay on Thursday in the region quarterfinals. But on a night when defense ruled, Holcombe reigned supreme.
“(Holcombe) is the whole backbone of the defense; she controls that back line,” Warriors coach Anatol Popovich said. “Stellar. She was stellar tonight.”
Holcombe was lights out defending the Warrior 18. There was one lapse where Seminole’s Olivia Red got past her and a scuffle for the box ensued. Red went down and there was no call, and that was as close as Seminole would come.
Both team defenses were stout in preserving a scoreless first half. Four minutes into the second half, Warrior Danielle “Dan Dan” Putnam got possession inside the Warhawk 18 and drilled it just over the outstretched hands of keeper Bria Riancho.
Putnam found a little more breathing room in the second half as the Warhawks moved stingy defender Matia Payne off the back line to produce more offense. Payne launched several attacks in the second half but her absence on the back line opened a window for Putnam.
“ (Payne) is a solid back player and always on the ball,” Putnam said. “(When she moved) it opened up in the middle.”