With two minutes to go a melee in front of the Lely goal saw a ball ricochet off a Lely player’s leg and Estero’s Aja Curth snuck it past goalie Frankie Archaki to seal the win.
A goal a few seconds later by Estero didn’t diffuse Lely’s effort, nor did the 3-0 score indicate the fight both teams put up.
Lely coach Tony Smith told his players, “Your parents, your friends, have got to be so proud of what a team you are.”
Estero had beaten Lely, 9-1, on Dec. 10. In the first 30 seconds on Wednesday night the Lady Wildcats scored. It gave their fans expectations that the game was going to be the same as the first time.
Lely scrapped its way through the first half, with momentum seeming to change toward the Lady Trojans.
At half time Lely’s Jenna Lundquist told her teammates, “They are tired, we can do this.”
Smith said, “You have them frustrated, make them more frustrated. All you’ve got is 40 minutes, give it 200 percent.”
And they did, but the Lady Trojans couldn’t dent the Estero net.
Senior Captain Justine Giles led the team on defense, with a mixture of defensive and offensive players, including Nuria Ferreira, Laueren Hanscom, Hannah Heidenreich, Christy Thorstenson, Dulce Olalde, Colleen and Veronica Evely and Archaki.
On offense, Jessica Andrade led the way, with strong efforts by Jenna and Lexie Lundquist. Often the offensive team dropped back to play defense as they harassed Estero the entire game.
But it wasn’t to be.
Estero plays No. 2 seed Riverdale for the championship at 7 p.m. today at Naples High.
Lely finished the season at 9-8-3. The young team graduates just four seniors.
“I’m already looking forward to next season with the players we have coming back,” Smith said after the first-round district win over Golden Gate.