Seminole upsets Palmetto 3-0 in boys soccer region semifinal

jdill@bradenton.comFebruary 5, 2014 

PALMETTO -- It's often the toughest thing to accomplish in sports: beating a team three times.

And in soccer, it's especially true.

Palmetto's boys soccer team entered Tuesday's Class 4A-Region 3 semifinal sporting a dominating attack and stingy defense.

The record the Tigers compiled with blowout victories glistening their ledger documenting their prowess on the pitch.

But visiting Seminole ended any dreams of a deep playoff run for the Harllee Stadium faithful when the Warhawks defeated the Tigers 3-0 for the first time this season after Palmetto won last week's district title match 4-1.

They'll travel to Lakewood Ranch on Friday after the Mustangs earned an extra time victory over North Port in the other

4A-3 semifinal.

To accomplish the upset victory, Seminole used two quick strikes during the first 20 minutes of the match before holding off the Tigers vicious attack.

"When you start playing with fire like we have, you go down 1-0, you think you are just going to come back," Palmetto head coach Dustin Dahlquist said. "We probably should have had the equalizer, but we didn't. Then they get another goal. ... We played down at their end, the majority of the game. We just didn't come away with some goals."

The key to the Warhawks keeping a clean sheet was Tom Palmer's heroics. The junior goalkeeper made a few point-blank, one-on-one saves and was aided by one shot that rattled off the crossbar.

Those added up to Palmetto (21-2-1) being blanked for the first time all season. Even against three-time defending national champion Montverde, the Tigers found a way to find the net.

Not on Tuesday against Palmer.

"We wanted revenge and we were hungry," Palmer said. "We got what we wanted. We came out here and remembered when they stood out here in front of the scoreboard and took a picture. ... We played hard and we fought it out."

The Tigers fell behind when Liam Murphy connected on a free header off a free kick in the 14th minute. Paul Gyorkos added the second just four minutes later, and Thomas Whiting completed Seminole's scoring when the Tigers were pushing out from their box on an attempted counterattack.

"Probably play that team, eight out of 10 times they're going to beat me," Seminole head coach Rick Masi said. "But we got them the night we needed to get them. And it worked out well."

Despite the loss, Dahlquist said he is proud of what his seniors accomplished during their tenure with the program, which included a trip to the state semifinals last season. That group includes: Gregorio Calvillo, Usiel Martinez, Javis Paniagua, Fernid Carlos, Hunter Brown, Tyler Lawrence and Genaro Maldonado.

"I think they are probably deserving of a better result, but I don't believe I could ask any more of a group of guys than what they gave us over four years," Dahlquist said. "They're a talented group of kids. They are going to go on and do some great things in life. I think the things they were able to accomplish over four years here is impressive, and one single result from a soccer match is going to define who they are or what they are capable of doing."

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