VENICE – Venice High’s Emily Dalton’s goal with 2:40 to go in the game lifted the Indians to a 3-2 victory over Fort Myers High in a Region 4A-3 girls soccer quarterfinal Thursday night.
Dalton’s goal, her second of the game and 55th of the season, resulted from a scramble in front of the net following a corner kick awarded to the Indians and put an abrupt end to the Green Wave’s season after Fort Myers had battled back from a 2-0 deficit.
“Throughout the game we had a lot of missed opportunities that we needed to capitalize on,” said Green Wave coach Dave Trepkowski. “All teams going toward the States are pretty much equally talented. Both teams were deserving of the win tonight, but we just came up short.”
Venice jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first ten minutes of the game on goals by Dalton and Alexis Weaver. The Wave got one goal back in the 20th minute when Bailey Pombrio took a centering pass from Taylor Wipf and put the ball past Venice goalkeeper Sarah Donofrio.
Fort Myers put the pressure on in the second half and had many chances to score, but couldn’t get the equalizer until the 71st minute when Savannah Blevins scored from in close off a pass from Wipf.
The Wave seemed to have all the momentum, but were unable to clear the ball after the corner kick and paid the price when Dalton got the ball past goalie Kendall Graddy.
“I’m really proud of this team for coming back,” said Trepkowski. “We got down 2-0 to a really good team, but they came back. That just shows the mentality of this team. They shouldn’t put their heads down and be sad. They played extremely well. I just wish the outcome was a little bit different. I hate losing, but I’m so proud that they didn’t give up.”
Fort Myers had defeated Venice, 5-0, during the regular season.
“The entire goal this year was first to win Districts,” said Trepkowski. “Fort Myers hasn’t won Districts in a number of years and coming off a tough loss last week to Gulf Coast, we came in here a little depressed. These girls have never been in this position where they’ve had an opportunity to move on and do bigger and better things. It’s good for them to get a taste of this and hopefully move on from there.”
The Wave outshot the Indians, 18-9, for the game. Donofrio was credited with 10 saves, while Graddy had seven. Fort Myers ended its season with a record of 19-2-4, while Venice improved to 19-5-2.