LAKEWOOD RANCH — Seminole has had a roller coaster type of season, which was never more evident than this week.The Warhawks shocked district champion Palmetto in Tuesday’s Class 4A region semifinal then fell flat Friday in the final against Bradenton Lakewood Ranch.
Trailing by only a goal at halftime, Seminole gave up three straight goals and lost 5-3. Lakewood Ranch advances to next week’s state semifinals in Melbourne.
“We played a horrible, horrible, horrible game,” Seminole coach Rick Masi said. “We picked a bad day for a lot of players to not have a good game. We were making stupid mistakes that we haven’t made in a long time.”
The first mistake came in the 13th minute, when Seminole (16-9-1) was called for tripping in the 18-yard box. That gave the Mustangs a penalty kick, which Ryan Sollazzo drilled into the lower right corner to make it 1-0.
Eight minutes later, Lakewood Ranch’s Ben Wilson broke free on the right side and had a clear shot from 15 yards. He beat keeper Tom Palmer to make it 2-0.
Seminole did not go away.
In the 27th minute, Andrew Goodman blasted a shot from 20 yards that found the upper-right side and made it 2-1. Seminole kept up the offensive pressure for the rest of the half and had three near misses.
“We couldn’t buy a goal,” Masi said.
But any momentum Seminole built was dashed two minutes into the second half. Sollazzo dribbled up the left side and placed a cross to Felipe Dangond, who was wide open 3 yards in front of the goal. Dangond headed it in to make it 3-1.
“That was the key to the whole game,” Lakewood Ranch coach Vito Bavaro said. “The whole halftime speech was that we had to get a few more goals on them because they are a good team. We won that first 20 minutes and blew it open. From there, I rested my guys. I knew we were going to state.”
The Mustangs (12-8-6) did indeed blow it open. Sollazzo scored again five minutes later. And five minutes after that, Jake Dube crossed to Connor Franko, who was wide open for another easy goal that made it 5-1.
Goodman scored again with 16 minutes to play on a 25-yard shot. And with four minutes left, Liam Rafferty scored from 35 yards out for Seminole’s final goal.
“We just gave them goals,” Masi said. “Just stupid, stupid plays. It wasn’t like they created goals. We gave it to them. It’s one of those nights when you can’t have anybody off, and we had a lot of guys off.”