Saturday, November 18, 2017
Sports

Boys soccer: Wiregrass Ranch tops River Ridge 2-0

RECOMMENDED READING


NEW PORT RICHEY — Bryce Wilson's two goals on Friday propelled Wiregrass Ranch to a 2-0 victory over River Ridge in a meeting of teams on a playoff path.

The clubs will be the No. 2 seeds in their district tournaments. Friday's early action suggested a tossup but as the game progressed River Ridge grew weary in its fourth game in five days.

"You saw some heavy legs tonight," Knights coach Michael McHugh said. "And it's tough when you have to play a quality team like Wiregrass in the fourth game."

But thanks to goalkeeper Tyler Manaras, River Ridge hung around. He had 11 saves including three in a 30-second sequence — denying Tristan Hart in close, then knocking away Matt Bradshaw's rebound and finally thwarting Doug Nolting on the resulting corner kick — to keep it 1-0 at halftime.

And with 20 minutes left, when Manaras came up with a reflex save on Maurice Lewis' leaping header, the Bulls couldn't help but worry River Ridge might steal a point.

"That was in the back of our minds," Wilson said. "In the first half we played some of our best soccer this season."

Finally he secured the victory with 10 minutes left. On Andy Hippley's cross, Wilson got just enough of his left shoelaces on the ball to sneak it inside the left post. It was the Bulls' 20th shot and gave Wilson his 20th goal this season.

At that point the Knights (11-4-2) only had three shots in the half, all from Jason Navas. They later threatened only to be stopped by Bulls goalie Alex Cypriano, and once by the crossbar on defender Marko Sevic's strike.

River Ridge had won four straight, including Monday's 1-0 defeat of Land O'Lakes that secured the No. 2 seed in 3A-8 behind Sunlake.

Wiregrass (14-1-2) has won six in a row since falling to Mitchell, the team that has the top seed ahead of the Bulls in 4A-8.

Wiregrass had some top-rate buildup in the first half. The best saw Hippley juke past two defenders and cross to Sean Sourk, who headed the ball down to Wilson, but offsides took the goal away. Another three-way play resulted in a goal at 20 minutes, with Chris Faddoul sending Sourk, then Wilson burying the cross into the roof of the goal.

Still the Knights very nearly tied it before half thanks to Jason Dovydaitis, who outworked two defenders and set up a teammate on the doorstep only to have his header go well over the goal.

"We played very well in the first half, a little rag-tag in the second but some of that was due to the (soggy) field conditions," Bulls coach David Wilson said. "Overall I'm very pleased with the direction we're headed."

Comments

Region football: Clearwater Central Catholic 37, Calvary Christian 10

CLEARWATER — The ice bath ensued for Clearwater Central Catholic coach Chris Harvey after the Marauders’ 37-10 victory over Calvary Christian in Friday’s Class 3A region final. The win placed the Marauders (11-0) in their fifth state tournament since...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

MELBOURNE — With 1 yard separating Plant from an incredible come-from-behind victory, or a devastating defeat, it all came down to a matter of trust.And for Panthers coach Robert Weiner, there was no one he would put more faith in to get that 1 yard ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

SEFFNER — Hillsborough conquered one nemesis with last week’s win over Class 6A defending state finalist Lake Gibson, the team that knocked the Terriers out of the playoffs in the first round a year ago.But there was an even bigger stumbling block to...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Region football: Ocala Vanguard 35, Mitchell 31

NEW PORT RICHEY — The start wasn’t quite befitting of a playoff game between undefeated teams, but the end of Friday’s war between Ocala Vanguard and Mitchell certainly was.Like last year’s Class 6A regional semifinal, the Mustangs held a three-point...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

ZEPHYRHILLS — For Zephyrhills, Friday night’s Class 5A region semifinal against Green Cove Springs Clay was doomed by 12 bad minutes. The Bulldogs led by four points at halftime but allowed 28 unanswered points in the third quarter and were not able ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood came into Friday’s playoff game knowing its defense had to help control field position against Jesuit. The Spartans (9-1) left Friday’s game with a ticket to Immokalee for a region final — and six Tigers (6-5) turnovers en r...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Region football: Tampa Bay Tech 42, Palmetto 26

TAMPA — Another Friday night, another offensive explosion.Tampa Bay Tech’s offense continued its torrid pace and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. accounted for five total touchdowns as the Titans rolled past Palmetto 42-26 in a Class 7A, Region 3 semifi...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Region football: Cambridge Christian 50, Indian Rocks Christian 14

TAMPA — The Cambridge Christian offense was clicking, and quarterback Jaylin Jackson couldn’t seem to be stopped. Still, as the second quarter clock dwindled, Indian Rocks Christian was hanging around.So with just more than a minute left in the half,...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Region football: Naples 24, Largo 0

NAPLES — In a game between two teams that had never met with a lot on the line, the Naples defense came up with one of its best efforts against Largo on Friday night.The Golden Eagles limited the Packers to 117 yards of offense in a 24-0 triumph in t...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Region football: Lakeland 52, Wiregrass Ranch 0

LAKELAND — It has been a historic season for the Wiregrass Ranch Bulls football team, which made consecutive playoff appearances for the first time, won its most games ever and experienced its first playoff victory.If this were a movie, the final sce...
Updated: 5 hours ago