Consistency biggest threat to Mustangs

Gaither's strong second half ends the young team's season.

By ERIC MUSKATEVC, Times Correspondent
Published January 16, 2007

CLEARWATER - There will be many things to build on next season: Marisa Russo's stellar freshman season with 22 goals and 11 assists, four versatile incoming sophomores and a junior keeper who plays beyond her limits.

Unfortunately for Mitchell, the one thing coach Karl Kukec will not be building on is a district championship. The Mustangs (12-4-5), despite their overachieving status, went down in the first round to Gaither (6-6-3) Monday, 3-1 at Countryside.

"There is still another year, and another one after that," Kukec said. "It is a work in progress and the big thing is that they are together as a team now."

The Mustangs went up a goal at the 20-minute mark when Rebekah Stockowski nailed a free kick from 30 yards out. A slow defensive pace made that good for a halftime lead.

One minute out of intermission, the normally consistent defensive line allowed Gaither forward Shanna Pace to squeeze into the box and fire at point blank to tie it. Nine minutes later, a perfect through ball up the middle gave the Cowboys' Jo Dragotta a clear one-on-one, which she converted for the 2-1 lead past Laura Seletos, the sophomore goalie who otherwise had a tremendous game with 14 saves.

Stockowski had a similar free-kick attempt with three minutes remaining to no avail.

"Consistency for 80 minutes has been our biggest challenge," Kukec said.