But as the last hope soared over the goal, Michael Montesclaros pounded his fist in frustration, not getting up off the grass as the final seconds ticked away.
The Wildcats boys soccer team almost pulled off a late comeback but instead fell at home to Holy Spirit Prep, 2-1, Saturday afternoon in a GISA Class AAA state semifinal match.
Down two goals with less than 10 minutes to play, Drew McCartney got one back with a penalty kick before the Cougars survived.
“They’ve been doing this. We’ve gone up and hung on,” Holy Spirit Prep coach James Dale said.
The Cougars scored within the first 10 minutes of each half to get their lead.
Louie Brann provided the first, as Westminster goalkeeper Trey Newton made the initial save but was beaten on a rebound chance with 31:24 remaining in the first half.
Holy Spirit Prep needed less than six minutes to strike in the second 40 minutes, as Celso Torres fired a shot through the box and past Newton.
Though down two, Westminster turned it on.
“They got great character as a team,” Westminster coach Mike Freace said. “We came very, very close to bringing it even.”
It started when a foul on Patrick Moseley in the box gave McCartney his penalty kick tally with eight minutes still to play for a second goal.
Almost right after the goal, a defender’s gaffe gave Moseley possession on a turnover, but a great save on a well-struck shot eliminated one threat. Other shots were turned away or not on target as Holy Spirit Prep advanced to the state championship.
“This is the game I wanted,” said Dale. “I’ll worry about (the championship) on Monday.”