BAY VILLAGE — Lake Ridge Academy’s finest season ever ended Tuesday night, but not without a mighty effort at Bay High School in the semifinal round of Division III regional play.
The Lions (15-5), who had never advanced to the regional tournament, got a goal from sophomore Sami Ibrahim, but it wasn’t enough in a 2-1 loss at the hands of Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas (14-2-4).
Aquinas will play in the title game Saturday at 3 p.m., at Brecksville against Gates Mills Hawken, which defeated Kinsman Badger 6-0 at Ravenna on Tuesday night.
Lake Ridge dominated action in the closing minutes and shots by Ibrahim, with 4:13 left, and Ryan Cross, with just 2:00 remaining, barely missed finding the mark.
Ibrahim, who had eight goals this season, connected on a short shot from in front of the net with 14:30 remaining to narrow the 2-0 deficit. His goal in sudden death overtime last Monday won the district semifinal match against Oberlin.
“I saw the opening and shot,” Ibrahim said. “I’m very disappointed we didn’t win because I thought we played better then them. The last 10 minutes or so we dominated but just couldn’t get the ball in.
“But I’m looking forward to next year because we have a lot of guys coming back. We’re going to be good. I think we’ll go even farther than this year.”
First-year Lake Ridge coach Ryan MacRaild was proud of his team.
“We gave them (Aquinas) everything they could handle,” he said. “We had five or six good shots at the end which could have gone either way. But we had a great season — 15-5, how could you ask for more?
“Sure, we would have liked to have gone all the way, but we had an exciting year. I think we did all right. It was a great run. The season is over so all we can do is look ahead to next year. We should be all right.”
Lake Ridge outshot Aquinas 7-5 in the first half but still came out trailing 1-0 at intermission on Chris Dalpra’s header goal, his 15th of the year, from 10 yards out with 8:43 remaining. Nick Fernandez got the assist.
The Knights made it 2-0 on Matt Norcia’s running kick, also assisted by Fernandez. It was his 12th goal of the season.
Aquinas dominated play in the first 20 minutes of the final half, but Lake Ridge controlled the action the rest of the way only to fall short.
Contact Jerry Rombach at 329-7137 or firstname.lastname@example.org
GOALS: Lake Ridge Sami Ibrahim, Aquinas Chris Dalpra, Matt Norcia; ASSISTS: Lake Ridge non, Aquinas Nick Fernandez 2; SAVES: Lake Ridge Diego Chada 5, Aquinas Brandon Johnstin 0; SHOTS: Lake Ridge 15, Aquinas 17; CORNER KICKS: Lake Ridge 4, Aquinas 2.
HALFTIME: Aquinas 1, Lake Ridge 0