District soccer: Mitchell 9, Sickles 2
TAMPA — The Class 4A, District 8 final was a rematch from a year ago when top-seeded Mitchell thrashed Sickles.
Friday’s game was settled in the first two minutes as USF commit Sabrina Wagner burned down left side of the Gryphon defense and sent a cross to Noah Stokes to take a 1-0 lead. The host Gryphons (9-5-1) kept picking themselves up off the mat but were knocked down each time to the tune of a 9-2 clobbering by the Mustangs (17-1-0).
“We are lucky to have so much depth on this team,” Mustang coach Karl Kukec said. “Our leading scorer from last year (Aja Graham) we kept out tonight (recent concussion) and we’ll have her back for the next game.”
The senior and Division I-A heavy front line of the Mustangs was just too quick and powerful for the Gryphon defense, despite a gritty effort from keeper Alina Ramos (11 saves).
“We have a fast transition to goal and it’s hard for defenses to set up to defend it properly,” Kukec said.
The goals started raining down. Four minutes after the first, Gabrielle Zeigler made it 2-0 off a free kick. No one told Sickles’ Stephanie Linton the game was going to be a blowout as she tirelessly attacked the Mustang box and soon found Kersey Jordan who made it 2-1. The margin was be short-lived as Stokes set up Alise Singletary for the first of her three goals on the night, making it 3-1.
With eight minutes left in the half, the Sabrina Wagner show began.
Wagner drove all the way to the near post, pulling Ramos out and dished off to Singletary to make it 4-1. Four minutes later, Wagner sliced inside and drove a screaming shot into the opposite top 90 to make it 5-1. Linton struck back after a Gryphon corner kick to make it 5-2 but Wagner took it right back down the field and scored. Still in the final two minutes of the first half, Wagner connected on her third goal of the game from straight on to make it 7-2 at the half.
Wagner sat out the second half as reserves trickled in for the Mustangs. The Mustangs got all 22 players in the game and 11 minutes into the half, Singletary completed her hat trick, making it 8-2. In the final 10 minutes, Zeigler bagged her second goal of the night.
“We’ve been playing with each other since before high school,” Wagner said. “We all played at West Pasco (club) and some of us even played together in elementary school.”
The Mustangs host Winter Haven in the region quarterfinals Thursday, while Sickles travels to Bartow.