Matanzas (21-2-2) edged out Seabreeze (13-3-6) Friday night with an overtime goal by Miracle Porter to win the District 6 Championship 2-1.
“I think the game was evenly played,” said Matanzas coach Tony Benvenuto. “It’s a shame it has to come down to a winner in these situations. Kuddos to Seabreeze; they played hard. We have a lot of respect for them. I think we may see them down the road.”
The first 40 minutes of play went scoreless. The majority of the Seabreeze defenders concentrated on Porter, leaving other players open to for Matanzas to dominate ball possession in the first half.
Seabreeze made a change in the second half.
“This whole game is dependent on marking: I’m playing against you; I need to neutralize you," said Seabreeze coach Frank O’Donnell. "I think we did a better job of doing that second half,”
Late into the second half, Seabreeze forward Annie Gelnaw took advantage of a break in the Lady Pirate defense for the first goal of the game.
“When we got the lead, instead of being composed, we were panicked and kicking the ball anywhere,” O’Donnell said.
With the clock counting down, O’Donnell tried to calm his team from the sidelines by telling them they had the game won. But Matanzas had different ideas. With one minute and two seconds left in the game, Michelle Dominguez sent a power shot into the goal to tie the game and send it into overtime.
“I always tell my girls when we are down, we can always come back, and Michelle had a great shot,” Benvenuto said. “It takes a lot away from any team when they are scored on with a minute left.”
Going into overtime, the Lady Pirates were on a high and ready to fight for the championship. With back-and-forth ball possession, it was looking like a second 10-minute overtime would be needed, but with 33 seconds left on the clock, Porter broke through defenders for a game-winning goal, her 60th for the season.
“On the last goal, I was trying to tell my players that we needed to collapse on her – and we didn’t do that,” said O’Donnell.
Both teams now advance to state playoffs. Matanzas will host Eustis next Thursday, and Seabreeze will travel to Leesburge.
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