SEMINOLE — Seminole is on a mission to change history.
The Warhawks have methodically plowed through the competition this season as they attempt to win their first state title. And after Thursday's 7-0 dismantling of Northeast in the opening round of the region playoffs, the Warhawks seemed primed to duplicate their 5-0 victory over East Lake in the Class 5A-11 district championship last month and move one step closer to the state tournament.
On Tuesday, the Eagles made things more difficult for the Warhawks but Gina Hayduke and Sierra Lelii scored within minutes of each other as Seminole turned a scoreless tie at halftime into a 2-0 win. Seminole (21-2-1) has outscored opponents 99-11.
"It was really frustrating for us," said Hayduke, who has 34 goals this season. "We talked at halftime about gaining more control of the ball at midfield and working the ball outside. We needed to play smarter and move the ball from the defense up to the front in steps. When (the first goal) went in, it was a great feeling, a huge sigh of relief."
Hayduke gave the Warhawks a 1-0 lead with 25 minutes left when the junior midfielder curled in a 30-yard direct kick from the left. That set off a wild celebration by the Warhawks on the field and the large contingent of fans in the stands.
Lelii, who had missed eight games with an injury, added another goal when she gathered a loose ball halfway between midfield and the top of the penalty box, faked out a defender then rifled a line drive shot with her right foot, freezing East Lake goalkeeper Chloe Keesecker.
"Sierra adds so much to our team," Hayduke said. "She holds the ball in the middle and draws the defense then plays the ball to us on the outside. Our defense deserves a lot of credit, too. They took a lot of pressure off us as well. We feel really confident about our chances."