Celine Valentin didn’t mince words. She thought it was a bad call that cost Belgrade the match.
After battling defending state champion Laurel to a scoreless draw through 79 minutes Saturday afternoon, the Panthers were whistled for a hand ball just outside of the box with overtime looming.
The Locomotives (12-1-1) scored on the ensuing free kick by Maeson Cotter with just 30 seconds remaining to escape with a 1-0 State A semifinal victory.
“It was a really frustrating call to make with 30 seconds left in the game. Just an unintentional hand ball,” Belgrade’s coach said. “The girl who took it just kind of struck it hard right at the net and it went in.”
Belgrade (9-3-2) appeared to have the momentum heading into overtime after senior keeper Abbey Cady made a huge save on a penalty kick.
“Right after the PK the whole team was real fired up because that was a real questionable call as well to have the PK,” said Valentin. “So she made a stop, everybody was really fired up, and we had a ton of momentum.”
Needless to say, it was a devastating loss for the Panthers, who were also beaten by the Locomotives two years ago in the semifinals.
“At the end they were super pissed off because this obviously is a really talented team. I think we could have had the game, especially if it was going to go into overtime,” said Valentin. “But we talked about if you’ve done everything you’re capable of doing, and you prepared as well as you could prepare, you can walk off the field knowing that you gave it your all.
“They played super hard and they left it all out there. It didn’t go there way and sometimes the better team doesn’t win.”
Laurel 1, Belgrade 0
Belgrade 0 0 - 0
Laurel 0 1 - 1
Lau - Maeson Cotter, 79th
Shots: Bel 3, Lau n/a. CK: Bel 3, Lau n/a. Fouls: Bel 5, Lau n/a. Saves: Bel 12 (Abbey Cady), Lau n/a.