Quick-strike Hathaway Brown defeats Howland

Tribune Chronicle / Bob Ettinger Chloe Richards of Hathaway Brown, left, tries to take the ball from Sara Ciletti of Howland, right, in Division II regional soccer action at Twinsburg on Tuesday night.

TWINSBURG — It doesn’t take long to go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows or vice versa.

In the span of just more than two-and-a-half minutes, the Howland girls experienced that manic swing from the wrong side in surrendering three goals in a 3-1 loss to Shaker Heights Hathaway in a Division II regional semifinal Tuesday at Twinsburg.

“It is real tough,” Howland coach Joe Megyesi said. “Those three goals came so quick. I don’t want to say it was a mental breakdown, but it was a breakdown. We didn’t regroup fast enough. It’s tough. It was a good season. I’m not complaining about anything. I was hoping for a better outcome.”

The Blazers (14-5-1) play Chagrin Falls, a 4-0 winner over Akron Hoban, in the regional championship match at 3 p.m. Saturday at a site yet to be determined.

After battling to a scoreless draw in the first half, The Tigers (12-7-1) took the lead early in the second half on a goal from Amarah Howard with 35:16 remaining in the match, and everything seemed to be rolling their way.

“That was one of my freshmen,” Megyesi said. “I know she was elated. She was one-on-one and beat the defender. Then she beat the goalie. It was a real high for her and it was motivation for the whole team.”

Though the tally threw Hathaway Brown for a loop, it also served as the wake-up call the Blazers needed.

“Warren Howland is a very good team,” Hathaway Brown coach Carmen Ptacek said. “They’re very fast and very aggressive. That led to them scoring that first goal. They took the initiative at the beginning of the half. That was the moment we realized we needed to change things around if we were going to win. We needed to start playing our game.”

It wasn’t the first time Hathaway Brown had trailed against a good team and that experience came in handy.

“Definitely (our schedule helped),” Ptacek said. “There had been quite a few games we were down, 1-0. It wasn’t the first time this season we were able to come back and win or tie from behind. This team never really gives up.”

It took nearly 10 minutes, but the Blazers responded.

“I think we were a little nervous at the beginning of the game,” Ptacek said. “I think, maybe, the girls knew this was where we lost — in the regional semifinal — last year. They came out nervous and timid. It took Warren Howland scoring that goal to wake us up. We started taking some chances and scoring some goals.

“We said at halftime they (we) were playing to tie. We needed to change a few things and play like we wanted to win.”

The Blazers scored three goals, to be exact, in a span of 2:36 and left the Tigers reeling.

“It just tears your gut out,” Megyesi said. “We were trying to figure out what was wrong, who we needed to sub, what we needed to correct. The biggest thing was keeping the morale up. We had real well. I was hoping for the best.”

Mary Felicia Santelli scored on a pass from Katharine Bradley with 25:48 left to draw the Blazers even. It took 22 seconds for them to take the lead on Elizabeth Stack’s goal off a crossing pass from Sabrina Kunimoto.

“There was definitely a shift of momentum (after the second goal),” Ptacek said. “They same soccer is a game of inches. Things can change so quickly. In a matter of three minutes, everything was different. I think at that point we had found our rhythm. We started to connect with our passing and it created goal-scoring opportunities for us.”

Santelli took another crossing pass from Kunimoto and put it in the net for the 3-1 advantage with 23:12 remaining.