TAMPA — With fans bundled in blankets on the 49-degree night, Wiregrass Ranch used a big break and a blast to win its first boys soccer district title, a 2-1 victory Friday against top-seeded Mitchell.
Freshman Chris Faddoul was in the middle of a Mitchell own goal in the first five minutes, and his 40-yard rocket in the 25th minute helped the second-seeded Bulls (20-1-2) avenge a 3-1 regular-season loss to the Mustangs (20-3-1). Senior keeper Alex Cypriano made the lead stand up with key saves, particularly in the first seven minutes of the second half when he stopped four point-blank shots by Chet Kirtley, and teammate Tristan Hart headed away another Kirtley attempt in front of the net.
“(Mitchell) is an outstanding team and we defended well,” said Wiregrass Ranch coach David Wilson, who received an ice-water shower from the Bulls after the trophy presentation. “There’s no question the own goal set a pace early. It put us ahead and we relaxed after that. I think we had a little bit of luck on our side.”
On the own goal, Faddoul made a throw-in toward the net and Mitchell’s Tyler Frick headed the ball just inside the right post. “(Frick) mistimed the jump, (the ball) skipped over, and (keeper Mitchell Szydlowski) couldn’t do anything about it,” Mitchell coach Oscar Ubillus said. “It’s a non-excuse, but high school fields are like this …when (a ball) is thrown in and goes high up, it’s pretty much a corner (kick).”
The only score Cypriano allowed came in the 55th minute on a Brady Friedman goal assisted by Mico Petrovich. It came with Faddoul sidelined nine minutes after taking a cleat to his right knee. Cypriano came up with five more clutch saves after that.
“I wanted to keep us in the game, especially the last quarter,” Cypriano said. “I know if I’m behind the ball, I’m going to get it.”