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ST. PETERSBURG - Wednesday's 5A-11 semifinal was maddening for Lakewood, in part because the No. 3 seed Spartans lost 1-0 to second-seeded Northeast to end their season.
But mostly because Lakewood had two prime opportunities to score but only Northeast's Jasmin Mecanovik could find the back of the net.
Lakewood (9-7) created more opportunities in the first half against Northeast (14-2-1) and looked to have the all-important first score in the half's closing minutes, but Hamza Elotmani's goal was waved off for offside.
Immediately after the break, Lakewood's Shane Wixted was fouled in the box, but his penalty kick was saved by goalkeeper Ian Ronshausen (four saves) who got some help from the post to knock the ball away and quell the threat.
"He came up with the key save of the game," Northeast coach Thomas Blauvelt said. "He guessed right."
Soon after in the game's 46th minute, Mecanovik was standing alone in the box when a shot from Jorge Guerra ricocheted directly to him. Mecanovik lifted the ball over Lakewood keeper Kyle Scannel (three saves) for the game's only goal.
Lakewood outshot the Vikings 7-4 but had trouble breaking Northeast's impenetrable back line.
"Their forwards were getting frustrated because they couldn't get open," Ian Ronshausen said. "My defense just stuffed them. They've been playing great all year."
In the other semifinal, No. 4 seed Dixie Hollins held off top-seeded Seminole for three-fourths of their semifinal match. But a goal from manager-turned-player Kyle Eichhoff in the game's 66th minute gave Seminole a 1-0 victory.
After a fairly even first half, Seminole (13-8-2) started applying decent pressure on Dixie's goal in the second, as most of the game was played in the Rebels' defensive half of the field. Seminole had 11 shots to 3 for Dixie (10-5).
"Their keeper made some great saves, which kept them in the game," Seminole coach Rick Masi said. "It was hard to finish. They packed 10 in the box and there was no space."