The Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School boys soccer team will have to spend the next 10 months living with the knowledge they lost a chance to reach the Region 1A-2 final for the second straight year on an own goal.
Community School of Naples (CSN) won 2-1 in the Class 1A-Region 2 semifinals against the Falcons on Saturday at a raucous Schilling Field.
The winning goal came in the 73rd minute off a free kick to the right of the box by William Crowell. The perfectly placed ball was fought for by CSN’s Brendan Miles and Falcon defender Chris Pennewill.
Miles and Pennewill got to the ball at the same time, with the ball deflecting off Pennewill and past goalkeeper Trevor Mulqueen into the net to give the Seahawks the lead.
Saint Stephen’s (17-3-1) scrambled to score the tying goal in the final minutes, but the Seahawks held on in what was the rubber game in a rivalry that has seen these teams battle in the region semifinals three consecutive seasons.
“The game could have gone either way. Tonight the ball fell our way. We always say to put the ball in a dangerous spot. It’s unfortunate it happened that way, but I’m happy with it,” Miles said.
Falcons coach Marc Jones was thrilled by Pennewill’s effort on a play that he said would have resulted in a Miles goal had he missed.
“We gave away a free kick and they capitalized. There were two players going for the ball on a great free kick. Our defender got to the ball tenaciously and got a touch. Unfortunately, it was in our net. It was a great effort to get to the ball,” Jones said.
Community School of Naples (25-1-1) scored in the 13th minute when Miles drew defenders in, found Nate Nascimento in the 6-yard box and finished for a 1-0 Seahawks lead.
Saint Stephen’s took advantage of a miscommunication by the CSN defense, which resulted in a failed clear two minutes later. As a result, Saint Stephens’s Jon Boyd tied the game.
CSN took control in the second half, and seemed poised to take the lead when a penalty by Pennewill in the 52nd minute gave the Seahawks a penalty kick. Mulqueen stopped it.
Eight minutes later, Saint Stephen’s had its turn to take the lead when Jake Leonardi committed a penalty inside the box, only to have the shot stopped by Community School of Naples keeper Chris Childs.