Missed chances haunt the Warhawks in their quest for a second straight title.
By LAURA LEE
Published February 27, 2004
FORT LAUDERDALE - Reason would have it that eventually, one of them had to go in. Seminole shot, and shot and shot, drawing side netting, crossbars, bobbled saves and lots of air.
Rarely did the shots go in.
It all came back to hurt the Warhawks, who despite dominating play in the Class 5A state championship game, lost 3-2 to Davie Nova in overtime Thursday at Lockhart Stadium. It was Nova's first state soccer title.
"We had plenty of opportunity to win the game, but we couldn't put it away," Seminole coach Rick Masi said after the game, wearing his lucky faded orange and green Umbro hat that until Thursday, he'd never lost a tournament in.
Tied after regulation, Nova's Juan Vargas got deep in the box behind several Seminole defenders to score the winning goal from about 7 yards out in the fifth minute of overtime. The linesman raised his flag to call Vargas offside, but the center referee over-ruled the call and allowed the goal. "We played our hearts out. We left it all on the field," Seminole senior Mike Stanton said. After starting a little timid and giving up an early goal to Nova (19-1-3), Seminole (22-6-3) started to command the game, isolating play on Nova's half of the field. The Warhawks consistently broke down Nova's defense and seemed on the brink of going on a scoring spree at any moment. Seminole outshot the Titans 23-10.
"We didn't finish our chances and we didn't do what it took to go all the way," Seminole senior midfielder Kyle Urquhart said. "We came up short."
The Warhawks were down by two goals early in the second half, but scored twice in the span of a few minutes to tie the game and stay alive for extra periods. Stanton's free kick from 40 yards out managed to work its way through a crowded box and roll into the goal untouched. Senior midfielder Morgan Riley went for the header but ended up faking out Nova goalkeeper Juan Vasquez.
Moments later, Urquhart headed in a corner kick that first bounced off another player's head for the tie. Seminole had a new game with 30 minutes to play.
"I think the boys had the courage to come back and get it done," Masi said. "We left too much on the table tonight and it came back to bite us on the butt."
Seminole forward Joey Brown laid out on his back after the final whistles were blown. His counterpart, Richard Legg, was across the field, flat on his stomach. Both juniors, they will be back next year. The Warhawks will lose seven seniors.
After the game Seminole quietly lined up on the field to accept the runnerup trophy. Principal Rick Misenti placed the silver medals around each of the players' necks. Some of them cried as they posed for parents with cameras.
"We got here and we did what we could do," Riley said. "We just couldn't get it in the back of the net. ... So close. So close."