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Class 5A, District 11

5A-11 soccer final: Strong defensive effort puts Osceola over Seminole

SEMINOLE — Seminole had plenty of experience entering Friday's Class 5A-11 final against Osceola on its home turf.

The Warhawks (13-2-1), who had beaten the Warriors (15-4-1) once and tied them this season, had won the past three championships and appeared on their way to another title, outshooting Osceola 10-3 in the first half.

But behind the play of goalkeeper Britney Bennett and a stellar defense, Osceola held Seminole without a goal in the first half. The inspired effort propelled the Warriors to capitalize on two early chances in the second half as Lindsey Gentes scored on two followup shots to lead Osceola to a 2-1 upset of Seminole.

"I wanted to destroy them and do everything I could to keep them from scoring," said Bennett, who finished with 12 saves.

About two minutes into the second half, Seminole had a scoring opportunity when Gina Hayduke made a cross from the right side of the field just outside the box to Sierra Lelii, who one-timed it toward the net.

Bennett, who made one brilliant save after another, corralled it and quickly kicked the ball up the right side of the field. Brooke Popejoy ended up with the ball 15 yards past midfield and rushed downfield before launching a shot just inside the penalty box that rifled past Seminole keeper Casey Merson. The ball hit off the right post and ended up at the feet of Gentes, who easily shoveled it into the back of the net.

Several minutes later, Gentes scored again on a put-back.

"It's a great feeling, just hard to describe," said Osceola coach Tom Davis, who had never beaten the Warhawks in his three-year career.

Seminole, which outshot Osceola 22-7, scored with a little over two minutes left when Lelii made a cross from the right side of the box to Megan Lawrence, who flicked it in.

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5A-11 soccer final: Strong defensive effort puts Osceola over Seminole 01/23/09 [Last modified: Friday, January 23, 2009 11:51pm]
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