West Orange edges Freedom in penalty kicks to advance to state championship
| 5:57 p.m. February 13, 2015
MELBOURNE — It took all of regulation, two overtimes and eight rounds of penalty kicks but the West Orange Warriors are going back to the state championship.
West Orange (14-1-4) got a huge save from goalkeeper Alec Holland in the eighth round of penalty kicks against the Freedom Patriots in the Class 5A State Semifinals.
Moments later, junior defender Luke Shafer sent the winning kick to the back of the net and the Warriors had secured a berth in the state final for the second time in three years.
“Would have liked to finish it a little bit earlier but this is the second time in the playoffs we’ve had to go to PKs so I guess we’re proving that the practice is paying off,” head coach Scott Fisher said. “I always feel good (about penalty kicks) because we have a heck of a goalkeeper and I figure he’s going to save one somewhere.”
The save from Holland seemed like a lifetime after the junior keeper made an error to allow Freedom (19-4-2) to score its first goal.
“You’re always worried after a little bit of a mental mistake but he played good after that,” Fisher said. “He’s mentally a strong kid and that just shows a lot.”
Paul Mansingh and Trevor Packey scored the Warriors’ two goals in regulation.
West Orange will face the winner of Cypress Bay and Haines City tomorrow at 3 p.m. in the Class 5A State Championship.
“I’m excited,” Fisher said. “We weren’t even picked to win districts so to get to the state final is phenomenal — these guys have worked hard.”