The Chargers score early but give up a late goal in a 2-1 loss to Miami Palmer Trinity.
Shorecrest was making its first appearance in the Class A state championship game, but when the final whistle sounded it was clear the Chargers weren’t just happy to be there. Defending champion Miami Palmer Trinity scored in the final 10 minutes and withstood a furious Shorecrest attack to win 2-1 at Stetson University.
The Chargers grudgingly accepted their runner-up medals through tears. The loss snapped a six-game win streak that included a double overtime win over Fort Myers Canterbury and a dominant win over Maitland Orangewood Christian in the state semifinal match.
“The only thing that got us here was these 20 players working our rear ends off every day,’’ senior midfielder Logan Stenger said. “We’ve had multiple games where we have responded. We’ve been down goals and come back. In this game we went up early, but unfortunately we just had some tired legs at the end.’’
Shorecrest wasted little time in scoring the game’s first goal. In the second minute, Asher Rovin found himself wide open in front of the goal after a long ball bounced around the 18-yard box. From no more than two yards away, Rovin tapped in the shot for a 1-0 lead.
“It came right to my foot,’’ Rovin said.
That lead held up for about 10 minutes.
The Falcons tied it up in the 13th minute. Robert Bistry crossed from the right side to a waiting Jonathan Ludwig. His one-time shot wasn’t struck hard, but it was placed well enough to trickle into the right side of the goal to make it 1-1.
There were a few more chances by each team, especially for Shorecrest. Rovin was open in front of the net in the final minute but was unable to get a foot on the bouncing ball.
“I think in the first half you could tell we were scared,’’ Second-year Shorecrest coach Jason Montoya said. “I know it doesn’t seem like that because we went up a goal. But we went up a goal in the wrong way. We played it long and the ball happened to go in. The first 20 minutes were probably the worst 20 minutes we’ve played all year. Once we settled the ball the next 20 minutes were outstanding.’’
The Chargers (19-4-1) continued to possess the ball well in the second half. But it was the Falcons who would eventually find the net. The game, and championship winning goal, came with 9:58 left to play. Palmer Trinity’s Alberto Franceschi worked his way inside the 18-yard box and took a shot. Goalkeeper Lucas Murphy made the save, but the ball remained in play.
Michael Gomez settled the ball five yards from goal and knocked it in. Shorecrest spent the rest of the game trying to equalize but could not.
The Falcons outshot the Chargers 13-5.
Shorecrest is loaded with underclassmen, including 12 in the junior class. The chances of a return trip to DeLand are good, but that didn’t mean much on Thursday.