Gators stunned in second-round OT loss
With many of St. Amant's starters having not played a game in nearly a month, the Gators looked rusty and out of sync in their second-round playoff game against Captain Shreve on Thursday night.
The visiting Gators took full advantage.
Although St. Amant controlled most of the game, Captain Shreve capitalized on two crucial St. Amant errors. The goals they scored as a result gave them a 2-1 upset victory in overtime.
"In the playoffs, it's survive and advance, and you can't survive when you make the mistakes we made tonight." St. Amant head coach Adrian Garcia said. "We made more positive plays than negative during the year, but that's just the way soccer works. Credit them for capitalizing on our mistakes.
St. Amant had opportunities to take the lead in the first half, but they couldn't take advantage.
Early in the game, Tyler Bridgewater dished out a beautiful cross to a streaking Nick Goscha right in front of the goal, but Goscha missed the ball.
At the 38th minute, Goscha got a shot in front of the goal, but it was saved.
It was scoreless at halftime. Each team had six shots.
St. Amant's offense showed signs of life early in the second half. At the 53rd minute, Austen Millet made a terrific pass out front to Bridgewater, and he finished to give the Gators a 1-0 lead.
However, at minute 59, St. Amant committed their first critical mistake. They were called for an inadvertent handball inside the box. This granted Captain Shreve a penalty kick, which they made to tie the game.
The game went to overtime, which consisted of two 10-minute periods. In the first 10 minutes, a shot by Bridgewater was just wide left.
In the second period, St. Amant got off two great shots almost right on top of each other. First, Ulrich Gaffney's shot was saved. Next, a shot by Goscha went just wide right.
It appeared the game was about to head to a second overtime, but then St. Amant committed their second crucial error.
With just two minutes remaining in the first overtime, Captain Shreve miskicked the ball inside the box, sending it straight into the sky. It landed right in front of St. Amant goalkeeper Dillon Staal.
Staal tried to catch the ball when it bounced off of the ground, but he couldn't handle it. Off of the deflection, a Captain Shreve player was there to kick it into the back of the net for what became the game winner.
They won despite being out-shot, 18-10.
Prior to this playoff game, St. Amant hadn't played since Feb. 3. Although, because of injuries, many Gator starters missed their final two regular-season games. They hadn't played since Jan. 25.
Coach Garcia thought the long layoff had a negative impact on his team.
"It hurt us, without a doubt. I've never been a fan of the bye, because you never take that long off during the year," Garcia said. "But it's the reward of having a good season. Luckily, they're going to fix it next year, but regardless of if we took three weeks off or three days off, we should have been cleaner than we were tonight. You can't expect to win when you play like that."
St. Amant won the district championship this season and finished with an overall record of 13-6-1.
"We lost seven or eight starters from last year, and I had no idea what would come of this team," Garcia said. "I knew we had some good pieces, but we were young. I played way more freshmen than I thought we would. They battled throughout. It was an unfortunate way to end the season, but it happens like that sometimes. When you've been around long enough, you see it every now and then."