Girls region soccer: ‘Off’ night still nets a Mitchell shutout



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Thu. January 23, 2014 | Mary Kenney

NEW PORT RICHEY — No team had come close to defeating Mitchell this season — and that remained true after Thursday’s Class 4A region quarterfinals.

The Mustangs (23-0) shut out Lakeland 3-0 and face Winter Haven (18-2-2) on Tuesday.

Despite the victory, coach Karl Kukec said the girls have improvements to make.

“We didn’t play a good game tonight,” Kukec said. “This was our off game.”

It was a low-scoring matchup for the Mustangs, who have averaged 5.77 goals per game. Their first half was marred by high shots that sailed over the net or hit the crossbar.

Lakeland (10-11-1) goalie Elizabeth Kovacs was a major factor in bottling up the Mustangs. She had 12 saves at the end of the first half and added another six in the second.

Sabrina Wagner scored Mitchell’s first goal in the fourth minute, rushing through a tangle of Lakeland defenders to toe the ball over the line.

Balea Schumacher scored next, in the 12th minute. She kicked the ball high from about 25 yards out, sinking it into the back of the net.

No one scored again for the next 28 minutes, and Mitchell finished the half ahead 2-0.

Schumacher scored from several yards out again in the 48th minute, giving Mitchell the comfortable lead it would carry to the end.

Winter Haven plays an aggressive offensive game that could give the Mustangs trouble on the road next week. Mitchell’s defensive record is only slightly better than the Blue Devils’.

“It’s probably going to be a good game, and we’re ready for it,” Kukec said.

Kukec said the focus is on the Mustangs’ passing game this week, though there are several things the girls will work on in practice.

“And we’ll just hope for the best,” he said.

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