FINDLAY — As senior Brynn Sautter's kick sailed over the goal, the Maumee girls soccer team's historic season came to a disappointing end in Tuesday's Division II regional semifinal game against Celina when it fell 1-0.
The Panthers lost 4-3 in a penalty-kick shootout.
"It was a great run," Maumee coach Holly Hamilton said. "My girls played their hearts out the entire season. For Maumee soccer, we may have made it past districts once before, but it's been at least 25 years since that has happened."
The Panthers’ tournament run got off to a good start with 12 goals in their first three tournament games. Against Celina, goal number 13 was elusive.
Maumee (13-6-1) had chances throughout the game but failed to take advantage and fell in the shootout after the first 110 minutes finished scoreless.
"We have 10 seniors, so it's kind of sad," senior forward Olivia Dameron said. "We've all ended up starting this year, so it's definitely a tough one. We've been playing with each other since we were in fifth grade."
In the penalty shootout, Celina finished its first two opportunities. Maumee followed with successful tries by seniors Maddy Woolford and Erica Tullis.
Maumee goalkeeper Jacq Korsog saved the next Celina attempt, but Dameron was denied on a save by Celina goalkeeper Callie Vogel.
Celina hit its next two attempts, with Maumee sophomore Claudia Woolford knocking home a kick in between.
The last attempt by Sautter was kicked hard, but flew over the top of the goal.
Maumee's best chance to score came with 28 minutes left in the second half, when Woolford gathered a cross, switched to her left foot, and hit the crossbar with her shot.
With four minutes left in regulation, Woolford tracked down a long ball into the box and missed just wide on a quick shot toward goal.
"We struggled with our touches," Dameron said. "Every touch that we had, if it was one touch or two touches, they would swarm on top of you and double team you."
After dominating the run of play for most of the game, the penalty shootout was a difficult way for the Panthers to be eliminated from the postseason.
"It was a rough way to end the season," Hamilton said. "I feel like we definitely should have gone out a different way if we had to go out at all. I definitely feel like we were the better team, and we really should have come out on top. We had easily twice as many shots as they did, but just nothing would sink."
The loss is even more difficult since the 10 seniors who were integral to the growth of the Maumee girls soccer program will now move on.
"My seniors were the entire part of this team," Hamilton said. "They kept us all going when we were down. They were the motivation through all of this. Our underclassmen loved them and looked up to all of them. It’s going to be really sad to see them go."
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