The Huskies were seemingly in complete control of the game and, if fact, it almost looked like defending state and mythical national champion St. Thomas Aquinas from Ft. Lauderdale had given up any hope of pulling out a victory.
But as the clock ran down toward the three-minute mark, Raiders sophomore midfielder Kaitlin Tighe found herself wide open in front of the Hagerty goal and headed a perfect pass from Margaret Falter past a diving Nicole Mattson to tie the contest at 2-2 with 3:19 left in regulation and force overtime.
Then, with 3:43 remaining in overtime, Jessica Hoyt popped a pass over Mattson to the far post and Ashley Cardounel chested the ball into the back of the net for a ‘Golden Goal’ to give St. Thomas Aquinas a 3-2 overtime victory in the Class 5A State Championship Match at the 2012 FHSAA Girls Soccer Finals at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Despite playing without freshman scoring machine Ruvimbo Mucherera, who was at a US Soccer training camp, and defender Mikaela Renfro, who tore her ACL in the regional finals, Hagerty (25-4-2) and Mattson (eight saves) withstood a Raiders opening flurry and eventually turned the momentum in their favor until Amyah Banks, Hagerty’s other top scoring threat, got loose in front of the net, made a beautiful cross over dribble to get open and flicked the ball past keeper Clara Rivera to give the locals a 1-0 lead with 12:21 left in the first half.
But just three minutes later, St. Thomas Aquinas got a free kick and Hagerty coach Rodney Kenney proved to be prophetic as Sarah Guensler received a perfect pass from Mackenzie Kligmann and popped up a header over a leaping Mattson that rolled into the goal to tie the contest at 1-1 with 9:22 left in the first half.
With the wind at their backs in the second half, the Huskies dominated the action and kept a lot of pressure on the Raiders defense until Sydney Schilling put a perfect left-footed cross into the box to a streaking Cherie Mundeleing and the junior deposited the ball into the goal for just her second score of the season to put Hagerty on top, 2-1, with 29:18 remaining on the clock.
The Huskies’ defense kept Aquinas at bay for the next 26-minutes and frustrated the Raiders so badly that they were playing a lot of one-on-one and taking long shots that had no chance to go in the goal and it appeared inevitable that Hagerty would earn the City of Oviedo its second consecutive girls state soccer championship.
But such was not to be as St. Thomas Aquinas, which is ranked No. 6 in the country by ESPN, would rally for its 12th State Championship in girls soccer, twice as many as any other program in the state, and finish the campaign 24-1-1 and no losses to a Florida school as the lone loss coming in a tournament in Texas over the holidays.
The Hagerty loss ended the soccer season for Seminole County schools as the Lake Howell boys, the lone local school to get to a regional final, was overwhelmed by Mandarin, 5-1, in the Class 5A-Region 1 Championship Match last Tuesday in Jacksonville.
The Silver Hawks (10-7-3) actually led 1-0 when Arturo Roosen scored off a throw in from Max Povlovski with 20:21 left in the first half.
The host Mustangs (23-3-3) would tie the game just moments later when John Mella headed a ball into the box to Kacper Grzeszcak, who popped a header over the Lake Howell keeper and into the cross bar.
Unfortunately for Lake Howell, the ball went straight down onto the foot of Jeinson Gonzalez, who deposited the ball into the back of the net to tie the contest at 1-1 with 10 minutes left in the first half.
The score was still tied at 1-1 at intermission, but the hosts dominated the second half with Gonzalez netting his second goal of the match along with solo scores from Grzeszczak, Klajdi Basko and Rijad Kobiljar to earn a spot in the Class 5A Final 4.