Another Heartbreak: Jenkins Falls in Title Game for Second Consecutive Year
Sun. February 10, 2013 at 2:00 a.m. | By Bill Kemp
George Jenkins' Lauren Greene, Katherine Stokes, Jessie Scarpa and Katherine Lopez react to a missed penalty kick during Saturday's FHSAA Class 4A state soccer final at Melbourne High School. The Eagles lost in penalty kicks 4-2 to Melbourne. (Photo by (CRAIG BAILEY | FLORIDA TODAY))
By BILL KEMP
LEDGER MEDIA GROUP
MELBOURNE | It couldn't have been any closer.
After losing seven seniors from last year's starting lineup, George Jenkins regrouped and made a valiant run to the Class 4A girls soccer state championship game.
Once again, the Eagles came up short, losing to Melbourne 2-1 after dropping a 4-2 penalty-kick session Saturday at Tom McIntyre Stadium.
George Jenkins and Melbourne were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, and when two 10-minute overtime periods couldn't produce the coveted golden goal, the game went to PKs where Melbourne prevailed.
"I think the kids did a great job," George Jenkins head coach Marissa Kazbour said. "We had lot of rookies come in and lots of freshmen, and a lot of them played tonight and started. They accomplished a task but it still isn't good enough because we obviously want to win a championship."
George Jenkins also lost the Class 4A state championship game to Ida S. Baker 1-0 at the University of South Florida last year.
After a scoreless first half, George Jenkins jumped out to a 1-0 lead at the 30-minute mark of the second half when Eagles' midfielder Marissa Morgan was fouled by Melbourne defender Alex Koeing.
Koenig was red-carded on the play and George Jenkins forward Lauren Greene drilled home the penalty kick to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
"I didn't see how the foul happened," Greene said. "I just knew the person that usually takes the PKs wasn't on the field and I needed to step it up. I had a lot of pressure on me and I put it in the net."
Koenig was ejected as a result of the red card and George Jenkins played with a one-man advantage for the rest of the game.
"I thought we should just stay in our formation and try to get one (more goal). We were close but we didn't get it," Kazbour said.
The 1-0 lead almost held for the rest of the second half. But with 4:18 remaining in the game Melbourne's Olivia DeJong scored on a loose ball in front of the net following a Bulldogs corner kick.
"It was a relief," Melbourne head coach Rosanna Lord said, whose team was playing in front of the home crowd. "It was a beautiful cross on the corner. It was also loose (for awhile). I kept seeing different opportunities and Olivia was there to poke it in."
Both teams played to a scoreless stalemate the rest of the way until the penalty kick session.
The Eagles (24-4-1) picked up penalty kick goals from Greene and Jessie Scarpa in the overtime session. Melbourne got its four goals from Jessica Feronti, Taylor Eller, Riley Collins and Jade Smith, who scored the winner.
"I think I prepared the kids the best I could, but last year and this year, and I think it is just a matter of putting the ball in the back of the net and winning. We fell short again but we'll be back for more next year," Kazbour said.
Melbourne (25-0-1) out-shot the Eagles 20-8 putting eight shots on goal, but George Jenkins' freshman goalkeeper Haliegh Mercer made seven pivotal saves to keep the game close.
"It was very stressful," Mercer said, who shut out Fleming Island 1-0 in the final four last week while winning a 4-3 PK shootout to put Jenkins in the title game.