By Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 6, 2002
TAMPA -- Sickles seemed excited and poised for a postseason takeoff after breaking ground with a season of records and firsts -- including the Gryphons' first berth in the regional playoffs.
But Tuesday night's 1-0 loss to Bradenton Lakewood Ranch left the Gryphons thinking about next year.
The Mustangs (11-4-5) frustrated the Gryphons (15-3-4) by shutting down their offense in the first half, and wearing them out in the second. In the 57th minute, Mustangs midfielder Hannah Ospina chased down a pass from Rachel Wyman to score the winner.
"These were both great defensive teams and I knew one or two goals would win it," Mustangs coach Gaetano Virgilio said.
"Based on the first half, I knew if we put enough pressure on them, we should be able to score. In the second half, we have a tendency to run out of steam. We hung in there."
Sickles made one last surge in the final two minutes and junior forward Lydia Harvey booted an almost-there shot that was blocked by Mustangs goalkeeper Lisa Vander-Kratts, who made seven saves.
"I wish them well," Sickles coach George Arroyo said. "They scouted us on Friday and shut down our passing game. Our girls started to panic.
"I told my girls that we created history, and that can never be taken away."
Sickles allowed nine goals this season. Its improved defense enjoyed 17 shutouts with the help of goalkeeper Melinda Spall, who had seven saves Tuesday.
"They've done things this year that no one thought they could do," Arroyo said. "And we'll be back next year."
Lakewood Ranch, a young team with 12 players and one senior, will face Durant next Tuesday in a semifinal.
-- EMILY NIPPS
The Sailors, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, improved to 24-1-2. The Sharks, who took defending state champion Bloomingdale to quadruple overtime before losing 1-0 in Friday's district final, end their season 8-8-1.
-- TIMES STAFF
DURANT -- It was as convincing a win as any coach could want. Durant beat Plant 7-0, outshot the Panthers 24-2, controlled the ball on offense and dominated on defense. Goalkeeper Jackie Hinton touched the ball just four times, the first in the second half.
But it wasn't enough to convince Durant coach Dick Sheffield his team can win a state title.
"Tonight was good. Everybody got to play," Sheffield said. "But what are we going to do when we get put under pressure? That's a legitimate concern. There's no doubt in my mind that we can play with anybody, but we need to be tested."
Durant will host Palm Harbor University, a 1-0 winner against St. Petersburg, next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Durant (25-0-2) dominated the ball from the opening kickoff, allowing Plant (10-13) to control play in its half of the field for less than five minutes in the first half. The Panthers had no shots on goal in the first half compared with 14 for the Cougars.
Three of the Cougars' shots found the mark. Beth Outlaw scored on a penalty kick less than eight minutes in. Kristin Danielik converted an Alicia Tirelli assist into the Cougars' second goal three minutes later followed by Tirelli knocking home a Mandy Anton rebound just before the half.
Sheffield started playing his reserves.
"With this team, I feel like I can relax when we get up by two goals," he said.
Considering Durant has allowed an average of less than 10 shots per game and Hinton has 22 shutouts while only giving up four goals, that seems like a pretty safe bet.
Durant scored four goals in the second half, highlighted by Danielik's third goal with 12 minutes remaining in the game.
-- MIKE READLING
VALRICO -- Bloomingdale freshman goalie Lyndsey Waters celebrated her 15th birthday by giving her team a present. She stopped Stephanie Jaso's shot, the seventh in a shootout, to give the Bulls a win against Sarasota Riverview 4-3 in penalty kicks after a scoreless regulation.
"It hasn't really sunk in yet," Waters said of stopping the final shot. "I told myself it was just like any regular shot; just like practice. Then, I prayed."
Waters also stopped Holly Shafer's shot which would have won it for Riverview after four rounds of kicks with the Rams up 2-1. And in the last 20 minutes of regulation, Waters blocked one-on-one breakaways by Ram strikers Chelsey Edwards and Erica Wohlwend.
Waters stepped in as the starter this season after Megan Robey went out with a knee injury.
"(Waters) is just a freshman rookie, but she's doing a great job," Bulls coach Sue Peet said. "She has the best nature. She's hard-working and does everything I ask of her."
Riverview (17-6-4) has played three consecutive scoreless games that ended in shootouts. Bloomingdale (12-4-3) also played in a scoreless district final against Riverview for 99 minutes before Ashley Quaid's goal won it in the fourth overtime.
On Tuesday, neither team looked very lively. Bloomingdale dominated ball possession and shots (18-8), but the Bulls could not crack the packed defense of the Rams.
After 100 minutes of regulation and overtime produced no goals, Quaid, Meagan Snaider, Emily Mills, and Staci Schreier converted penalty kicks for the Bulls.
"I hate penalty kicks, but I'm glad we pulled through," Peet said. "Early on in the season, we were 0-3, and I didn't see us advancing. But we have shown a lot of character, and now we're back in it."
-- JEREMY RASMUSSEN
BARTOW -- Tampa Bay Tech's first trip to the regional playoffs ended quickly with a 2-1 loss to Bartow.
Bartow got the winning goal with an unusual combination in the 66th minute.
Stopper Jamie Waite won the ball near midfield and kicked it high and deep downfield. The ball bounced over a defender, then backup forward Ashley Williams caught up and punched the ball into the left side of the goal.
The Yellow Jackets came from behind to catch the Titans, who scored in the 20th minute on a 35-yard free kick by junior Janna Ward when the ball slipped through the keeper's hands.
Bartow tied it 10 minutes later when freshman forward Nery Saucedo headed in a pass from Lesley Bryan.
Bartow (23-3) had several first-half scoring opportunities but eight shots sailed over the goal or just outside the post.
TBT lost forward Jenna Bell early in the second half when she fell hard and sustained a severe shoulder injury.
Bartow moves on to play at home next Tuesday against Naples Barron Collier with a chance to make its first appearance in the regional finals.
-- DURWARD BUCK
LAKELAND -- Lakeland Christian and Berkeley Prep traded goals before Lakeland Christian won 6-5. The Bucs scored in the eighth minute for a 1-0 lead before the Vikings countered with two quick goals. Tied 2-2 at halftime, the teams were tied again at 5 with less than three minutes remaining.
Freshman forward Laura Bowers clinched the Vikings' victory in the closing minutes when she headed home a throw-in.
The teams met two weeks ago in what Lakeland Christian coach Dean Johnson called a mirror image of Tuesday's game, with Lakeland Christian winning 9-6.
Berkeley Prep entered the game ranked eighth and ended its season 15-10-2. The Vikings (22-4-1) host St. Petersburg Catholic in a semifinal Feb. 12.
-- DONNA FELLOWS
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