LAKEWOOD RANCH — The Lakewood Ranch High girls soccer team had all day to prepare for its Class 4A-Region 3 quarterfinal contest with visiting Tampa Robinson Jan. 28.
But when it was time for the Lady Mustangs to take the field, they quickly noticed there was still an important element missing — their opponent.
Tampa Robinson’s bus arrived just as the match was scheduled to begin, pushing back the game’s start time an additional 30 minutes.
“It’s frustrating because you get cooled off a little bit after you’ve already warmed up, if you have to warm up for like an hour and a half, but at least they showed up,” midfielder Kaitlyn Wolfe said. “We thought we scared them away. We were joking about that.”
Lakewood controlled every aspect of the game from the minute the game kicked off as the host Lady Mustangs cruised to a 9-1 regional quarterfinal victory, which was stopped by the mercy rule with two minutes left in regulation.
“This is awesome,” Wolfe said. “We didn’t really know what the team was going to be like, but we had a great week of practice. We’ve really been focusing on playing as a team and we just came out here and we knew it had to be heart and skill. We just came out here and played our game and we got it done.”
Lakewood got on the scoreboard early and often in the first half, as the Lady Mustangs fired off 27 first-half shots, 14 of which were on goal. Wolfe scored Lakewood’s first goal of the night on an uncontested shot in the seventh minute.
Forward Sarah Miller added a pair of back-to-back goals and an assist, while midfielder Aubrey Riggins added a pair of goals with less than two minutes remaining in the first half, giving Lakewood a 5-0 advantage.
The Lady Knights, who were making their first regional soccer appearance in school history, were held to just one shot the entire game, which happened to roll into the Lady Mustangs’ net in the 62nd minute.
“One little mistake, and it can happen,” Lakewood coach Guy Virgilio said. “I was proud of the girls for the way they moved the ball around and they kept it away from the other team.”
The goal, only the ninth Lakewood has allowed all season, prevented the Lady Mustangs from recording their 13th shutout. But that would be the lone highlight of Tampa Robinson’s regional tournament; Lakewood’s Jamie Mineart, Sarah Wolfe, Kaitlyn Kerrigan and Kristen Voight all scored in the second half.
“We’ve always been like that the whole year,” Virgilio said. “We have a lot of good players. We spread it around. We pass it around. We create opportunities, and whoever is in there is able to put the ball in the net.”
With the win, Lakewood improved its record to 17-0-2 and advanced to the regional semifinals Feb. 2. The Lady Mustangs faced District 9 champion George Steinbrenner. Results from Tuesday night’s game were unavailable as of press time. Be sure to check www.YourObserver.com for the latest results and to see whether or not Lakewood advanced to tomorrow night’s regional finals.
“We know the next match is going to be a lot tougher,” Virgilio said. “They’re very similar to us. They have a lot of speed. They can score. So we know it’s going to be a fight.”
Contact Jen Blanco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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