HUDSON — Gulf coach Shari Schau felt like this might be the year her squad could make its first playoff appearance since 2006.
But what is one team's loss is another's gain, as Mitchell earned a berth into the Class 4A playoffs with four goals from forward Marisa Russo in a 4-2 semifinal win Wednesday night at Cobra Stadium.
"I thought we had a team this year that could get it done," Schau said. "I thought we played hard, but we need a lot more conditioning if were going to play with 15 players."
The win for the Mustangs (17-4-2) sets up a rematch with Hudson, which defeated Mitchell 3-2 last month in Hudson and defeated Ridgewood 4-0 in the late semifinal Wednesday.
Russo scored the first of her four goals with 17:47 left in the first half off a corner kick, and the ball grazed the side of her head for the 1-0 lead.
In the second half the Buccaneers (9-5-5) fell behind 3-0 after two more goals from Russo, but with 20 minutes remaining Gulf got on the board with a goal from Chelsea Foster. Gulf made the game interesting with another goal from Alicia Schulman.
But Russo capped off her stellar performance with the final goal, ending Gulf's comeback attempt. Mitchell outshot the Bucs 22-7 and held a 7-0 edge in corner kicks.
"I want to play Hudson and give them a loss like they gave to us the last time," Russo said.
In Hudson's game against Ridgewood the Cobras got a boost from Katy and Logan McGee, who scored the first two goals to give Hudson an early 2-0 lead.
Hudson's defense was impressive, holding Ridgewood to three shots on goal, and the Cobras were able to control the ball for a good portion of the match.
"To be the best you want to beat the best, and (Mitchell) was the team we wanted to play on Friday night," Hudson coach Stephen Jones said. "They are a good team and solid, and they give us a good challenge."