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Durant gets physical to get by Sickles

BOYS SOCCER REGION QUARTERFINALS CLASS 3A: The Cougars change their approach and stay strong on defense for a 2-0 win against the Gryphons.

By BRANDON WRIGHT

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 14, 2003


BRANDON -- Durant used a relentless offense and connected on a pair of second-half goals to defeat Sickles 2-0 at Ron Frost Athletic Complex, advancing to next week's region semifinal.

"We had a good defensive effort on the back line and stayed strong defensively," Durant coach David Peacock said. "My starting group has thrown a shutout through districts and now here."

Durant dominated possession in each half and outshot the Gryphons 12-4 for the game.

All four of Sickles' shots on goal came in the second half.

"In the first half we had several opportunities, we just didn't do anything with them," Peacock said. "When you get three or four chances in the box and don't do anything, it can be frustrating."

Monty Hase had the best of the opportunities when a cross from Stephen Olieburg drew Gryphons goalkeeper Chris Munday off his line in the 13th minute, but the junior forward sent the shot high.

Durant, a team built on fluid passing and crisp ball movement, was slowed down considerably by Sickles' rough play but was able to adjust.

The Cougars and Gryphons combined for 18 fouls and six yellow cards, four awarded to Sickles and two for Durant.

"We're not usually a physical team," Dean said. "But if people want to play physical, we know how to."

Durant finally broke through in the 57th minute.

Chris Davis, who entered the game a minute earlier, gained control in the right corner, then slid a pass that was misdirected to Dean. Dean blasted a shot from eight yards out that deflected off Munday's arm and into the net for a 1-0 lead.

"I saw the ball squirt through the defenders and it came to me," Dean said. "I took one touch and hit it off his arm."

Hase gave the Cougars a cushion when he beat Munday in the 74th minute for a 2-0 advantage.

With Sickles using an extra man in the attacking zone, Hase corralled a cleared ball at midfield and beat the only Gryphons defender left between Hase and Munday.

The junior striker then blasted a left-footed shot that put the game out of reach with six minutes left.

Durant will travel to play Seminole, a 3-0 winner against Clearwater Countryside, on Tuesday in the regional semifinal.

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