Coming up short in Class 3A Soccer state championship

Merritt Island retained its Class 3A state crown with a 3-2 (3-1 PK) win over the Dolphins on Friday at Spec Martin Stadium in DeLand.

“(Merritt Island) made some huge plays right there at the end because we were pressing hard,” Gulf Breeze head coach Ryan Williams said.

Gulf Breeze goalkeeper Margeaux Hunt is unable to stop this goal by Samantha Parker of Merritt Island during Friday’s Class 3A girls state soccer final.

Blair Amberson of Gulf Breeze and Maddy Miller of Merritt Island fight for control of the ball during Friday’s Class 3A girls state soccer final.

The Gulf Breeze Dolphins are photographed with their Class 3A runners up trophy at the end of Friday’s state soccer final.

That belief, which looked crushed by the early goal, came flooding back as Gulf Breeze generated better quality chances and largely limited Merritt Island to hopeful long shots.

But after a disallowed Kristen Goodroe goal with just five minutes remaining, the Dolphins forced goal-line clearances and earned penalty shouts before top scorer Blair Amberson chipped the Merritt Island keeper from the right boundary of the penalty box to equalize with two minutes remaining.

Nicole Manderson hugs teammate Margeaux Hunt after the Dolphins 3-2 (3-1 PKs) loss to Merritt Island in the state Class 3A soccer championship.

Swinton would be forced to watch as senior Rainey Niles converted Gulf Breeze’s first attempt of the penalty shootout before the ensuing three Dolphins’ shots either hit the post or were saved.

Mya Swinton of Gulf Breeze sheds a tear after the Dolphins loss to Merritt Island in the Class 3A girls state soccer final.