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Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017
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Sunlake comes up short

LAND O' LAKES - Connor Gilboy will be thinking about Friday's game all weekend. That's natural, of course, since it was his last after an illustrious four-year career at Sunlake (30-1). The Seahawks' historic season ended with a 2-1 loss to Jacksonville Ponte Vedra in the Class 3A state semifinal, the program's first in its six-year history. "I couldn't have asked for a better senior year, but it's hard way to go out," said Gilboy, who scored a Pasco County boys record 60 goals this season. "I asked these guys to give 110 percent every game and they did. From where I'm looking, you can't complain at all." If Gilboy had any complaints, it would be on the "fluke" goal by the Sharks (23-3-4) that ended up being the winner. After playing a scoreless first half, in which Sunlake outshot Ponte Vedra, the Seahawks took a 1-0 lead when Connor Spencer scored his fourth goal of the postseason and the 40th of his season.
Spencer put a shot past keeper Kevin Shields after getting a rebound off a Gilboy cross. Shields initially made the save, but it trickled past him at the 43rd minute. The Sharks tied it seven minutes later on a goal from Michael Parado, but in the 62nd minute, Sunlake couldn't clear a corner kick and Michael Lee buried a rebound that stayed in the 6-yard box too long. "We'd been clearing those out all year, so it was uncharacteristic for us not to clear it," coach Sam Koleduk said. "It's tough because I thought there was a 20-minute lull where we didn't do anything after we scored. The play was level tonight and we just didn't capitalize on our early chances." Koleduk was disappointed, but he is encouraged about next year, when he returns nine starters, including Spencer and keeper Daniel Hrenko (21 shutouts) "We'll be back," he added. "Guaranteed." Sunlake got several shots in the first half, getting 12 on goal and a few late opportunities to tie it. Sunlake takes little solace in being the first team to score on Ponte Vedra this postseason or losing in its first state tournament appearance. "It's hard to think about or talk about it, but I couldn't have asked for a better time here or for a season to go out on," Gilboy said. "We just came up short. I wish these guys the best of luck in the next season, but my time is done and it was great." Mike Camunas Berkeley falls to Gulliver Prep Berkeley Prep fell 3-0 to Miami Gulliver Prep in Friday's state semifinal. The Buccaneers fell behind early against a speedy Gulliver and could never find a rhythm. The loss denied the Buccaneers a second-straight state final berth.
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