By BILL POWERS
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 16, 2002
TAMPA -- After defeating Plant 5-1 earlier this season, Sickles didn't waste any time setting the tone in Tuesday's rematch.
The Gryphons used a quick strike and a penalty kick to gain the upper hand, then put the game in the hands of the defense to shut out visiting Plant 2-0.
Sickles took the opening kick and, just more than a minute into the contest, scored on junior forward Lauren Ophaug's goal off an assist from Wendy Moenart.
"Wendy just crossed it over and I volleyed it in," Ophaug said. "It got us all pumped." The goal was just as Sickles coach George Arroyo planned it.
"We're starting to move the ball around well and that's what I want them to do," Arroyo said.
"I wanted us to score early so we could set the tone." The Gryphons' final goal came 3 minutes before halftime when Moenart, a freshman, was tackled in the box.
She converted the penalty kick for the 2-0 lead.
From there, the defense took over and continued to set the pace for Sickles. The duo of Tanya Whyte and Sarah Tummons led the Gryphons' (14-2-3) defense in limiting the Panthers (5-5) to just five shots, all coming in the second half.
"We're determined to not let anyone score on us," Tummons said of herself and Whyte. "We joke around that we're "The Wall."' Plant did mount a rally in the second half, but never could crack the scoreboard.
The Panthers' Petra Fraser had a couple of chances early in the first half and again in the second, but the Sickles defense and goalkeepers Melinda Spall and Jillian Powers thwarted all five shots. Plant's defense, led by junior Paige Redfield, held the Gryphons to 11 shots.
"We had some chances," Plant coach Rob Nelson said, "but they have an excellent defense with Whyte and Tummons controlling it back there."