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4A region soccer: Wiregrass Ranch 2, Gulf 0

WESLEY CHAPEL — Ten days ago, Wiregrass Ranch celebrated its first girls soccer district tournament victory.

Three days later, Wiregrass Ranch earned its only district title with a 3-2 win over River Ridge.

Now the Bulls can add another accomplishment to their rapidly-expanding list.

Wiregrass Ranch held Gulf to only two shots on the frame and kept pressure on the Bucs' goal throughout with the dynamic forward combination of A.J. Blount and Berlin Waters to win 2-0.

"It's just a whirlwind," Wiregrass Ranch coach Erin Dodd said. "…I don't know if any of us have been able to wrap our minds around it. This has been a great season, and I know the girls want to carry it as far as they can."

Gulf (17-3-1) had no answer for the speed of Blount and Waters up top, and a Bulls' midfield that set the two up time and again with prime scoring opportunities.

After the Bucs saw their best chance to score clang off the crossbar in the 20th minute when Dani Schulman beat the offside trap on a free kick and got open in front of goal, Wiregrass Ranch (22-2-2) went to work on Gulf's defense. With 15 minutes left in the first half, Blount threaded a through pass into the path of Waters, who had her initial shot saved by Melissa Morlan (10 saves) before pushing the rebound into the open net for a 1-0 lead.

Four minutes later, Blount gave the Bulls a 2-0 advantage after receiving a pass on the right wing from Anne Cypriano and sending a shot across the goal mouth toward the far post that Morlan couldn't reach.

"We've got two very fast forwards and very skilled forwards," Dodd said. "It's hard to double team both of them …eventually space is going to open up."

The Bucs rarely tested goalkeeper Dayton Wetherby (one save), and even after pushing players up into the attack late into the game, couldn't consistently keep the ball near the Bulls' goal.

"Our game is playing to the feet," Gulf coach Shari Schau said. "We tried to play (Wiregrass Ranch's) game, which was to go over the top, and it just doesn't work for us. We play much better when we play at the feet. It was difficult to do that with the amount of field that they have."

The lone bright spot for Gulf was Morlan, who made a number of diving stops in the second half.

"She's been that way all season," Schau said. "If she's not our MVP, she's pretty close to it."

4A region soccer: Wiregrass Ranch 2, Gulf 0 01/27/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 27, 2011 11:23pm]
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