The Lakewood Ranch High girls soccer team defeated Fort Myers Riverdale 2-0 in a Class 4A-Region 3 semifinal match Jan. 28.
With the win, the Lady Mustangs (22-0-1) recorded their 17th shutout of the season and earned a berth in the regional finals for the second-consecutive season.
“We knew we had to pick it up because we didn’t play our best game last game,” senior captain Delaney Riggins says.
The Lady Mustangs took a 1-0 lead 10 minutes into the first half off an own goal by Riverdale. Riggins fired a shot that was stopped by Raider goalie Daisha Wendorf, but she was unable to control the rebound. The ball ricocheted off a Raider defender and over the goal line. Riggins was credited with the goal.
Riggins extended the Lady Mustangs lead five minutes into the second half off an assist from freshman Sophia Falco.
Lakewood fired off 16 shots, four of which were on goal, while holding Riverdale to 10 shots, three of which were on goal. Bri Reda, Maria Miller and Megan Hardy rotated in and out at center midfield and were able to control the 50/50 balls, allowing the Lady Mustangs to move the ball around the field.
“I know my defense is going to play well,” coach Guy Virgilio says. “They’ve been doing it all year. I was extremely proud of my center midfielders. They are the ones who controlled the game.”
The Lady Mustangs will host District 10 runner-up Seminole, a 3-2 winner over Seminole Osceola, in a regional final match Jan. 31.
Last season, Lakewood advanced to the Final Four for the second time in school history before falling to eventual state champion Melbourne.
“We really want to get to states again,” Riggins says. “We really didn’t think we would be as good as we are coming in, but we’ve worked really hard. It’s really paying off.”
Contact Jen Blanco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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