BRADENTON — There will be no return trip to the state tournament for the defending Class 4A girls soccer champions, as the Baker Bulldogs fell to Lakewood Ranch 4-1 in a Region 4A-3 quarterfinal Wednesday night.
It was a somewhat deflating end to the season for Baker, which lost last week to Barron Collier in the District 12 tournament, and trailed throughout after falling behind the Mustangs on a goal in the game’s fifth minute.
“We just didn’t play our best,” said Bulldogs coach Dave Trepkowski. “It wasn’t just this game. It’s been that way the last few games. But the better team did win this evening. It’s just unfortunate for our players, especially the seniors.”
The Mustangs extended their lead to 2-0 before freshman Syniah Clark got the Bulldogs on the board with a goal in the 20th minute. Clark barely missed a potential game-tying goal just before halftime, and Baker went to intermission trailing 2-1.
Any hopes of a comeback by the Bulldogs ended early in the second half as Lakewood Ranch scored twice in the first 10 minutes to extend the lead to 4-1.
“Even after halftime we didn’t come out and play our game,” said Trepkowski. “We weren’t as aggressive. Once they got it down in tight, we knew that they were going to cross it. They were just more aggressive and we just didn’t get to the ball.”
The Mustangs gained some measure of revenge for losing to Baker in last years regionals, and will go on to face Venice in Saturday’s semifinals, while the Bulldogs ended their season with a 21-3-1 record.
“I’m sad for the girls,” said Trepkowski. “But we’ll rebound as a team and as a program.”
Trepkowski noted that Baker’s senior class of Alexsys Vargas, Shannon Pearl, Sarah Johnson, Lori Rosario, Ashleigh Weaver, Cynthia Paredes and Monique Elliott had a record of 95-12-7 .