Lakeland Christians' Offense Goes Cold, Can't Find Equalizer in Second Half of Semifinal
Sun. February 03, 2013 at 2:00 a.m. | By Mike Cobb
Lakeland Christian's Grady Sharpe (7) tries to head in a corner kick against Windermere Preparatory's Daniel O'Brien during Saturday's Class 1A regional semifinal. (Photo by SCOTT WHEELER | THE LEDGER)
By MIKE COBB
LAKELAND | Trailing Windermere Prep 1-0 at the half, the Lakeland Christian boys soccer team turned up the pressure in the second half, and that led to a number of good scoring opportunities.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, they couldn't get any of those chance to produce a goal, and they ended up losing to the Lakers 1-0 in the Class 1A regional semifinals at Lakeland Christian.
Lakeland Christian, which played many of the top teams around the state, finished the season 12-10-1.
Windermere Prep (18-1-1) moves on to the Class 1A regional final Tuesday at Tampa Prep, which defeated Bradenton St. Stephens, 2-1.
Saturday night, the Vikings played without senior defender and one of the team captains, Alex Sessums, who sustained a head injury in Wednesday's quarterfinal win over Winter Park Geneva.
Sessums is fine, but LCS coach Grandy Streets said, "The protocol is you have to sit out five days. It's not worth taking a risk with something like that."
"It was weird playing without him," his twin brother Josh Sessums, also a senior defender and captain, said. "He's usually right behind me."
In Saturday night's loss, Windermere (18-1-1) scored midway through the first half when the Vikings' defenders failed to clear the ball and Giuseppe Capolino was able to put a shot into the top left corner of the net.
"It was a miscue," Streets said. "We miscleared it, and the ball went right to their forward."
Other than that, Lakeland Christian controlled the pace of the game, especially the second half that was played mostly in Lakeland Christian's offensive end.
The Vikings had 10 good scoring chances.
"I missed my shot," Josh Sessums said. "Logan (Pierce) missed his shot. We've got to put it on target, but overall, we played pretty well. I was pretty happy with how we played."
When the Vikings did have a good look at the goal, their shots were were either off target, or they couldn't get the ball past Windermere goalkeeper Max Rodegra.
"We couldn't find the back of the net," Streets said, "but I'm so proud of my team for how hard they tried."
"We had a great season," Streets added. "We learned how to play well, how to build on offense, how to attack out of the back; we just need to work on putting the ball in the back of the net better."
The Vikings will have 16 of the 19 players who dressed Saturday returning next year.
"We're going to have a pretty strong team the next couple of years," Streets said.
They'll lose three seniors — the Sessums brothers on defense and goalkeeper Blake Crosby.
Josh Sessums said he'll have good memories of being one of the senior captains on a young team.
"I enjoyed playing with all of them," Josh Sessums said. "It was fun. I was happy to play with all the kids. I'll remember it."