A disturbing start to the girls soccer match between Flagler Palm Coast and Ocala Forest came out well in the end for the Lady Bulldogs with a 3-1 win in the Region 1-5A playoff tournament game last week at Sal Campanella Memorial Stadium.
The defensive lapse that occurred in the first five minutes gave FPC coach Pete Hald cause for concern as the team gave up a rather cheap goal.
The 1-0 lead was short-lived for the Wildcats. On the ensuing kickoff, Saba Amiri scored the equalizer on a pass from Brittany Murphy, the tie coming with barely six minutes elapsed.
It wasn’t tied for long as the FPC midfield broke up a play and launched a counter directly at the Forest goal. FPC forced the ball toward the left, but it was punched out of bounds by Forest keeper Jenna Marcy to set up a corner kick.
Lombardo and Amiri executed the set play to perfection with a quick one-two touch and a volley into the box by Amiri that Murphy blasted past Marcy for the go-ahead goal.
The insurance goal was also scored in the first half by Amiri, a well-placed shot coming off a serve from the right by Ashley Puentes.
The win advanced FPC to the Region 1-5A semi-finals Friday night against Gainesville Buchholz in Gainesville. It was the 12th straight win for the Lady Bulldogs, who have won 20 games this season including the district championship game.
But the Lady Bulldogs run would come to an end in Gainesville, losing 3-2.
FPC rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the match with goal sby Jade Louis-Juene and Amiri in a 13-minute span which tied the game with under seven mintues to play.
After the first overtime left the score tied, Buchholz sophomore Deven King-Porter put a 30-yard penalty kick into the back of the net, sending the Bobcats to the regional finals and giving Buchholz its second win over FPC in the last eight games stretching back to 2013.
-- Gatehouse News Mediia reporter Larry Savage contributed to this story.