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LAND O’LAKES — What looked like a typical Land O’Lakes-Sunlake girls soccer game, namely one without goals, needed some kind of a spark Tuesday. Raquel Villareal supplied it, but don’t expect her to explain how it happened.
“I have no idea how I scored,” said Villareal, who took advantage of some confusion in front of the Sunlake penalty area to give the Gators the lead right after halftime. Land O’Lakes went on to win 2-0, clinching the top seed for the District 3A-7 championship. Sunlake will have the No. 2 seed.
The sides had played five times, Land O’Lakes taking the lone win in 2010 and the other four going to draws. Three of those were 0-0 results, including one last month, and Tuesday’s game looked headed in that direction after a first half that featured only one scoring chance per side.
But the Gators (10-4-2, 6-0-1) picked up the pace to start the second half and it paid off 90 seconds in. Catherine Gray sent a ball toward the top of the box that Villareal tried to play but missed, as did several Seahawks attempting to clear. Villareal took a stab with the outside of her foot and the ball trickled past goalie Maya Kamat.
“It was the least exciting goal I’ve ever scored,” she said.
Just four minutes later it was 2-0. Maci Galan’s free kick from 40 yards out was settled by freshman Savanna Ronk, whose shot was stopped. The rebound came to Land O’Lakes leading scorer Kameryn Kailimai, who got her eighth of the year.
“You could tell they were down on themselves at that point. We came out harder in the second half,” said Brooke Silvest, who along with Galan and Lacy Nasello were forces on central defense. Sunlake’s only sustained pressure came in the final minutes.
Carly Hill created a couple of good rushes for the Seahawks (6-5-5, 4-1-2), and Kim Devoe nearly cracked the scoreboard in the final minute but was stopped by Lauren Arrabito.
“We know they wanted to beat us really bad, but we want to keep them from beating us, too,” Gators coach Vicky King said.
Sunlake’s Sarah Sprague sustained a possible concussion midway through the half, hitting her head hard on the ground.