DOUGLASVILLE - A promising season came to an end Tuesday night as Alexander handed Salem a 2-1 defeat at Cougar Stadium in the second round of the Class AAAA state boys soccer tournament.
The No. 10-ranked Cougars (15-2) didn't wait long to pounce on the No. 9-ranked Seminoles (13-5-1). William Meria scored on a breakaway 2:16 into the first half.
The rest of the first half remained scoreless, although it wasn't because of a lack of offense. Each team pressed the action, which resulted in numerous scoring opportunities for both teams.
Salem returned the favor in the second half and scored right out of the box as Daniel Aquilar banged one home from point-blank range with 33:07 left in the game.
Unfortunately for Salem, the Cougars struck again with 11:52 left on the clock to regain the last lead they needed on the night. This goal also came off the foot of Meria.
Salem produced several scoring opportunities in the final 10 minutes of the game, but could not penetrate the last line of the Cougar defense.
"They (Alexander) packed the box and it was hard to get good shots off," Salem coach Sean DeWeese said.
The Seminoles actually out shot the Cougars 19-7 on the night, but many of Salem's shots were not on target.
"They (Alexander) capitalized on our mistakes. They had two good scoring opportunities and they scored two goals," DeWeese said. "When they had a good chance to score, they did. We just didn't take advantage of our chances and that was the difference."
Brandon Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.