Lakeland Christian Takes Tough Defeat in State Semifinal
Sat. February 02, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | By Bill Kemp
Lakeland Christian goalkeeper Lydia Cagle makes a save against St. John's Country Day in a Class 1A semifinal. (Photo by SCOTT WHEELER | THE LEDGER)
By B|ILL KEMP
LEDGER MEDIA GROUP
LAKELAND | One was just too many.
Lakeland Christian's girls soccer team surrendered only one goal in its entire six-game postseason run, but it was enough to keep them out the state championship game.
St. John's Country Day senior Ellen Crist scored with 22:38 remaining in the game to give the Spartans a 1-0 win over Lakeland Christian in the FHSAA Class 1A girls soccer state semifinals at Vikings Stadium on Friday.
"She's scored 102 goals in her career, and my keeper got the assist on the punt." St. John's Country Day head coach Mike Pickett said. "This game is what you expect. Bri (Folds) and Sydney Rayborn are two fantastic players. No one has stopped them all year and I thought we did a fantastic job on them."
Lakeland Christian's season ended after setting two school records with 26 wins and 22 shutouts.
The Vikings only suffered two losses this year and both were to St. John's.
"They have an incredible coach and a great team. They did what they had to do to win. It still was an incredible season for us," Lakeland Christian head coach Jason Streets said. "It's just one of those things. God has a plan and it wasn't meant to be."
Lakeland Christian was not able dominate field position against St.John's, the defending Class 1A state champions, like it had in its five previous postseason games.
In the first half the Spartans' offense launched five shots but Vikings' goalkeeper Lydia Cagle made all five saves, one — a diving effort — just before halftime to keep the game scoreless.
"Other than that (Crist's goal) they never got behind us," Streets said. "That's the best team in our class, and they have been for the past couple of years."
Lakeland Christian had two close scoring opportunities of its own in the second half.
Junior Josie Koretchko just missed a header and another Vikings' shot hit the crossbar in the closing minutes.
"It was a good season," LCS senior Taylor Tippel said. "The only games we lost were to this one team. We played hard.
"We hit crossbars and some balls went out of bounds. It's just disappointing."
St. John's will face Evangelical Christian (Fort Myers) in the state championship game on Feb. 8.
Evangelical Christian beat Marathon 3-1 in the other Class 1A semifinal.
"Jason Streets is the most classy coach that I've ever coached against," Pickett said. "They're a first-class program with a first-class coach and honestly they deserve to win the game, too."