HUDSON — Land O'Lakes coach Vicky King knew before her team's Thursday night showdown with Hudson that the game would probably come down to one goal. With her squad having one of the stingiest defenses in the Tampa Bay area, allowing only 10 goals all season, it seemed inevitable that King's pregame hypothesis would become reality.
And it did.
One penalty kick separated the Gators from a possible tie then overtime and going home, but the result was the latter as the Cobras won a 1-0 defensive duel in the 4A quarterfinals at Cobra Stadium.
"It was a great defensive effort tonight," Hudson coach Stephen Jones said. "I always say after the game, we will enjoy the victory until midnight and then we will start thinking about River Ridge or Mitchell."
The teams battled for ball control in the first 35 minutes, but in the 36th minute Hudson would break the stalemate and take a 1-0 lead off a difficult goal from freshman forward Brooke McKillen, who snuck through the Gators' left wing to score.
The game almost took a sudden turn in the second half. In the 71st minute, Land O'Lakes forward Arielle Le-Tran was tackled inside Hudson's box, which resulted in a penalty kick awarded to the Gators (11-6-6). But Le-Tran though sent the penalty kick sailing harmlessly over the top left post.
"We have practiced penalty kicks the past two weeks," King said. "Were not going to put it on (Le-Tran) because we had other great opportunities. But the penalty was a great opportunity to tie it."
Hudson (17-3-1) outshot Land O'Lakes 15-3.