The Mustangs lost 2-1 to Boone High.
The Lakewood Ranch High boys soccer team struck first in its state semifinal match versus Boone High on the road Saturday in Orlando, with sophomore Drew Clark heading a loose ball into an open net after a corner kick late in the first half.
Unfortunately, the Mustangs relaxed after that, and gave up the tying goal a few minutes later. The Mustangs never threatened again until the game's final minutes, when they found themselves down 2-1. They could not capitalize. As a result, Lakewood Ranch's season has come to an end.
Junior Ian Haslacker and senior Sebastian Salazar had goals for Boone. Mustangs coach Vito Bavaro said this was the team's second time playing on a turf field. The game sped up on the surface, which forced the Mustangs to adjust. They also had to deal with windy conditions, but Bavaro made no excuses for the loss. In the end, Bavaro said, he was thrilled to even reach the final four.
“We could have been out three times (in the playoffs), and we pulled it around three times,” Bavaro said. “We worked our butts off. I am proud of these guys. There's nothing I would have done differently. There's nobody I would have wanted on the field more. There's no 'Oh, we should have done this or this.' We left it all on the field. We played our hearts out and we lost.
“I’m not disappointed. Honestly, to get this far is absolutely fantastic. I’m super proud of these guys. Getting to the final four two years in a row? That’s awesome.”
Join the Neighborhood! Our 100% local content helps strengthen our communities by delivering news and information that is relevant to our readers. Support independent local journalism by joining the Observer's new membership program — The Newsies — a group of like-minded community citizens, like you. Be a Newsie.