GENESEO – Soccer is a game of "moments," as Mahmoud Etemadi likes to say.
"You don't capitalize on your moments, it will haunt you,'' the Dixon girls' soccer coach said.
Hence the reason the Duchesses are lamenting a near-miss Tuesday night, failing to build on both momentum and an early lead in a 4-1, season-ending loss to reigning regional champ United Township in the Class 2A Geneseo Regional semifinals.
Most galling before Kirsten DeArvil's icebreaker 18 minutes and 21 seconds into the contest, Dixon (15-5) had a penalty kick, which resulted in two more point-blank scoring chances on rebounds, with UT goalie Amanda Burrill stonewalling them all.
"We played really well in the first half,'' Etemadi said. "We not only took the lead, but we had several other good chances to score.
"But we also could not capitalize, and that's the name of this game. If you don't score, surely they will."
The Panthers (5-14) answered DeArvil's unassisted score just over 2 minutes later with a goal by Haylee Stone.
Just over 3 minutes after that, United Township took the lead for good on Meagan Serra's feed to Kailin Saucedo.
"UT took advantage of their opportunities, and we did not,'' Etemadi said. "Case closed.''
The Panthers also built on that 2-1 lead after halftime with better passing and ball control, leading to a pair of Alyssa Diaz goals from Merriyah Myers 5 minutes apart midway through the second half.
Dixon keeper Carly Hartle matched Burrill by turning away 8 shots in goal, but the Duchesses mustered very little offensive attack in the second half after the early flurry.
UT now is rematched with top-seeded Geneseo in Friday's title game. The Panthers edged the hosts 2-1 in last season's regional final.
"This does not take away from a good UT team, but we were short with our numbers, because of some injuries, and so they did wear us down in the second half,'' said Etemadi, who only had three substitutes at his disposal.
"UT is a good, deep team with a lot of good players. We did the best we could. I could not have asked for more. We fought to the end, and I give the kids a lot of credit. I am proud of all of them.''