By:  J. Daniel Pearson for Positively Osceola

Photo by: Katie Williams

Harmony’s girls’ soccer season came to an end on Tuesday night when the Longhorns dropped a hard-fought 1-0 decision to Treasure Coast in an FHSAA, Class 7A, Region 3 quarterfinal playoff game.  

The winning goal came with 12 minutes remaining in the first half when Victoria Valles connected on a penalty kick.   The Titans earned the opportunity when Deanna Romero was brought down inside the box on a late tackle attempt. It would be the only goal in a game where neither team could mount a consistent offense as the contest featured few legitimate scoring opportunities.

Treasure Coast dominated possession for most the first half, getting seven shots off and three on goal.  But most of those shots on goal were not sharply struck, leading to three relatively easy saves by Longhorns goalie Karla Marrero.

Harmony’s offense finally came alive late in the half.  

They got their first shot on goal at the 36 minute mark on a miscommunication between Treasure Coast Kayleigh Marreel and her back line.  The ball momentarily came free in front of the net, but Harmony was unable to get a clean shot off as Marreel recovered for the save.

Excluding the Titans penalty shot, the best opportunity for either team to score in the first half belonged to Harmony and came in the final minute of the half.  Harmony got off a hard shot from the right side that Marreel blocked and then the junior goaltender blocked a second solid shot off the rebound.

The first 20 minutes of the second half were played between the boxes.  

Twice in the final 20 minutes, Harmony sent a through ball into the box, only to see Marreel come off her line and beat the Harmony attacker to the ball.  “She (Marreel) did a great job,” Harmony coach Scott Marlega said.  “She was decisive in coming off the line and made some smart plays.”

With six minutes remaining, Harmony had another chance as Jadyn Frost dribbled past a defender on the right side but took the ball too deep to get a solid shot off.  Marreel would make her fifth save of the game as time was winding down, stopping a hard shot from distance.

For the game, Treasure Coast led in both shots (11-6) and shots on goal (6-5).  Each team had one corner and there were only five total fouls called, three on Treasure Coast.

“We started off slow tonight offensively, it was just sort of the nature of the game,” Marlega said.  “We finally got it together at the 30 minute mark in the first half and started playing better offensively. We didn’t have a lot of great scoring opportunities in the second half but we were definitely the more dangerous team.”

Treasure Coast (10-9), who came into the regional tournament as the six seed, moves on to play at #2 Wellington on Friday night.  Harmony, the number three seed in the region, saw its season come to an end with a 13-4 record that included an OBC and district title.

“It was a tough loss, but I am so proud of this team,” Marlega added.  “We graduated nine girls from last year and four of those are playing college ball now.  I wasn’t sure what this team was going to look like, as we had five freshmen on the team with four of them playing significant minutes.  We only had two seniors in the starting lineup, so there’s no question they exceeded my expectations.

Three other Osceola County teams were involved in the regional soccer games on Tuesday.  

Gateway (14-4-1) advanced in the 5A, Region 2 tournament with a 4-0 win over Cypress Creek (Wesley Chapel).  Jose Calderon scored twice and Angel Moreno and Zion Correa added single goals for the Panthers, who now travel to #1 seed Tampa Jesuit in a regional semifinal.  

“I thought we dominated from the beginning,” Panthers coach Sagar Patel said.  “We knew Wesley was going to be slow in transition, so when we won the ball we pushed it up field quickly.  We missed some opportunities to put the game away early, but overall we played a solid game from start to finish.”

Celebration also advances to the semifinals in Class 7A, Region 3 with an impressive 2-0 win over Palm Beach Central. In the game, Celebration controlled action in the first half, playing with a lot of intensity while making some great runs and passes. They finally got on the board when Carlos Perez put Celebration on top with a goal from 25 yards out.  

Palm Beach would control the midfield in the second half, until the Storm caught PBC on a fast break and Santiago Garcia put it in the back of the net for a 2-0 lead. “Overall, I thought we played a great game,” assistant coach Chad Bourdreaux said.  “To meet our ultimate goals, we still need to correct some things, but it was a solid win for us.” 

The Storm, 10-2-2 on the year, will host Royal Palm Beach/Centennial winner on Friday night at 7 p.m.  Gateway will be on the road to face #1 seed Jesuit.

In the final game featuring county teams, the Celebration girls (12-4-0) saw their season come to an end with a 6-0 loss at top-seeded Boca Raton.