FINDLAY - Lake coach Steve Hoffman could offer only a sad smile after his team's loss in a Division II girls soccer regional final against St. Marys Memorial at Graham Stadium.
"Before we were done with [penalty kicks], one of my assistants said, 'Can't both teams go [to state tourney]?' " Hoffman said. "Unfortunately, the answer is no."
It was doubly unfortunate for the Flyers, who suffered a 1-0 setback in the second round of penalty kicks.
Lake sees its season end at 19-2-1, while the Roughriders improve to 17-4-1.
"I couldn't ask any more of the girls," Hoffman said. "I told them to leave everything [they had] here in Findlay so they could go home with no regrets. We go home with no regrets."
A strong wind blew toward the north half of the pitch - the side the Flyers were defending in the first half. The wind forced the team defending that north goal to play defense the entire period.
But St. Marys had only one dangerous play, which came with 19 minutes on the clock. The Rougshriders knocked the ball into the Lake penalty box that Kaysha Dietz managed to put a foot on and roll past Flyers goalkeeper Ashley Timmons.
The ball rolled slowly and ended up just wide of the goalpost.
Lake had a pair of scoring opportunities in the final 10 minutes of the first half. The Flyers' first corner of the half came with 10:30 left on the clock, but Shelby Antonacci's shot was blocked by a St. Marys defender.
Then on a free kick with
8:45 left Hannah Cox booted the ball toward the far post, only to see Drew Plummer's dangerous header end up just over the crossbar.
In the second half Lake used the wind to its advantage to mount several strong attacks. The best came just eight minutes into the period when Antonacci left-footed a cross that Sarah LaPlante headed just wide.
Both teams had great chances while on offense in overtime. The Flyers' chance came in the second OT when LaPlante crossed a ball to Plummer, who headed a shot off the crossbar.
"Both teams tried to push when they [were on offense] on that side of the pitch," Hoffman said. "But I think both teams did a good job of holding their side of the pitch when they were on defense.
"It was one of those games where it could have gone either way."
In the first set of penalty kicks the two teams connected on four of five chances to force a second set of PKs. Teams are not allowed to use the same set of kickers in that second round.
"You don't usually anticipate going more than five-deep in penalty kicks," Hoffman said. "I thought our girls did a great job because most of them had never had a PK in a regular-season game."
Both schools connected on their second and fourth sets of shots, but in the fifth and final round the Roughriders' Kayla Boysell scored while Lake's Kristen Lehmann saw her shot blocked by St. Marys goalkeeper Paige Dicus.
The fact that Lake returns all but two of its 20 players from this season was of no consolation to Hoffman.
"[That knowledge] won't take any of the hurt away," he admitted. "The positive is that we only lose two girls, so we come back practically intact next year.
"We're sad about our season ending, but we built on what we did last year for this year. We hope to build on what we did this year for next year."
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