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Gators, Knights into final

Land O'Lakes' goalkeeping keeps team in contention.

By DEREK LaRIVIERE Times Correspondent
Published January 18, 2007


NEW PORT RICHEY - The first semifinal match was a real barn burner as Land O'Lakes received some clutch goalkeeping to advance to the final.

The second-seeded Gators defeated third-seeded Ridgewood 1-0 Wednesday.

Land O'Lakes (12-6-2) went scoreless in the first half despite firing 10 shots at keeper Brittany Martin of Ridgewood (8-9-1). Then Gators keeper Sarah Saavedra (13 saves) stepped up.

Saavedra had four stellar saves, three in the first half. She almost single-handedly kept the game scoreless while Land O'Lakes looked for its opening. That opening came in a second-half penalty kick off the foot of midfielder Amanda Goble.

Goble snapped a line drive just inside the left goal post and out of the reach of Martin, who had 13 saves. The score came with only 16 minutes remaining in regulation.

In the second game, undefeated host River Ridge faced off with Central (7-14-1). As expected, the Bears looked overwhelmed in the 8-0 loss. The Royal Knights began the scoring only six minutes in when forward Mikaela Morolla stole the ball from a Central defender and shot the ball from 25 yards out.

The fireworks continued in the 10th minute as two captains hooked up for the second River Ridge goal. Forward Deana Rossi snuck a pass back in front of the goal for midfielder Kayleigh Patri to finish.

Patri returned the favor for Rossi on the Royal Knights (17-0-1) fourth goal in the 33rd minute. Rossi scored the next two goals to account for a hat trick. Then she added another goal 20 minutes into the second half for her fourth of the night.