PLANT CITY — Plant City has made a living this postseason winning one-goal matches. Tuesday, the tables were turned.
Lakewood Ranch’s Angelica Rego buried winner in the 36th minute as the visiting Mustangs ended Plant City’s season, defeating the Raiders 1-0 in the 4A region final.
It was a difficult end to the best season in Raiders history. Plant City, which beat Tarpon Springs 3-2 and Seminole 1-0 along the way, had never reached a region final.
“We made it one step further than we did last year,” coach Caleb Roberts said. “We’re just going to keep moving in the right direction and building on the foundation that these girls have built the last three years.”
The Raiders (11-4-3) struggled to effectively move the ball for most of the match. Plant City’s best chance in the first half came on a Christina Gutierrez free kick from about 30 yards that sailed just high. The Raiders pushed the attack in the final 10 minutes but were unable to equalize.
“(Plant City) played their hearts out,” Mustangs coach Guy Virgilio. “They probably had just as many shots as we did, we were just lucky to put one away.”
The Mustangs’ (19-1-4) Tatum Young set up Rego’s goal with a perfectly threaded through ball from the right flank. Plant City keeper Taylor Michael came well off her line to challenge, but Rego one-touched the ball into goal just before colliding with Michael for the match’s lone strike.
“It was a great goal, a beautiful goal,” Roberts said. “If you’re going to lose 1-0, you want to lose on a goal like that.”