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Ridgewood Winter Classic: Sickles digs deep to earn title

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Thu. December 30, 2010 | Andy Villamarzo

NEW PORT RICHEY — The score at the end of the Pompano Beach Ely-Sickles title match was a bit deceiving.

Despite the Gryphons scoring only one goal, they dominated in almost every facet. They held Ely to three shots on goal and controlled time of possession throughout.

Not too shabby for having six starters out. The performance may have Sickles coach Antonio Calvo thinking about making some changes in his lineup, after his Gryphons defeated the Tigers 1-0 for the Ridgewood Winter Classic championship Wednesday night at Ram Booster Stadium.

“I give (Ely) a lot of credit,” Calvo said. “They are a phenomenal team and I’m just happy we played very well. We’re going to be making a lot of changes when my starters come back in. I said from the beginning this was a good tournament for the younger guys.”

Sickles goalkeeper Matt Bajza, who took tournament MVP honors, made one save and recorded his second shutout in a row, but the freshman didn’t have too much to worry about on his end as the Tigers (5-7-2) never got anything established offensively. The Gryphons (11-3-3) scored their lone goal six minutes into the match, as midfielder Woody Brink headed in the loose ball after a free kick.

Ely goalkeeper Nilson Miranda, who was named defensive MVP, kept the Tigers in the match by making eight saves.

“They were just better than us,” Ely coach Concepcion Ledezma said. “They were a scrappy team and they just wanted it more than we did. The guys are sad now, but we’re building something here. We represented Broward County well here.”

In the consolation matches, East Bay defeated Central 4-3, Alonso got past Ridgewood 5-3 and Pinellas Park breezed by Clearwater 4-0.

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