Ridgewood coach John Herig knew it would be a big night for his leading scorer, Amanda Salvarezza.
"I was watching Amanda, and her strikes were on when we were warming up," Herig said.
Salvarezza's strikes were on the Gulf net in Tuesday night's first-round game of the Class 3A, District 9 tournament. She scored a career-high four goals in leading the Rams to a 6-3 win.
Salvarezza could have had two more goals, but Buccaneer goalkeeper Kelly Pawlak raced out to make a pair of point-blank saves.
"I've been working on the fakes," said Salvarezza, who leads the Rams (8-9-1) with 16 goals. "(Pawlak) comes out, and I take advantage."
Taylor Greene chipped in with two goals and two assists.
Trailing 4-0 at the half, Gulf (10-9-2) rallied with two goals by Lisa Hair and Mandi Vallincourt's successful penalty kick.
But Salvarezza completed a hat trick two minutes after Hair's first score, and Greene scored her second goal 43 seconds after Vallincourt's penalty kick.
Ridgewood's reward for its win is a game against defending 4A state champion Palm Harbor University at 6 p.m. Thursday.
2A-6: Cobras nip Leopards
BROOKSVILLE _ It's not as if Hernando had no chances. There were three breakaways, two misses within 8 yards with a living room's-worth of space to shoot at.
Hudson had no such problems, shooting less but scoring more _ with the help of two goals and an assist by Rebecca Springer _ in erasing the Leopards, 3-2.
Fifth-seeded Hudson (4-10-3) faces top-seeded Zephyrhills at 8 p.m. tonight at Hernando.
The Cobras, who had lost to and tied No. 4 seed Hernando in the regular season, took a 1-0 lead with 7:40 left in the first half when Springer scored on a penalty kick.
Kim Bowers tied the score five minutes into the second half when goalkeeper Katrina Miele could only partially touch her shot.
Hudson gave the Leopards little time to celebrate, taking a 2-1 lead two minutes later when Alicia Doane got behind keeper Crimson Bouthillier and chested in a cross.
Hernando, playing its typical aggressive style _ the legacy of recently retired coach Rick Ahrens _ earned two yellow cards and agitated the Cobras with tough tackles. The style irked them but not enough to draw their thoughts away from the game.
"I don't allow my girls to play to hurt," Hudson coach Ann McVey said. "I like a clean game of soccer."
Springer gave the Cobras a 3-1 lead with 27:11 left when she arced a deep shot Bouthillier muffed into the goal.
Hernando (7-10-2) closed the gap to 3-2 with a minute left when leading scorer Lauren Fraysse _ who took 11 of Hernando's 24 shots but missed from close range several times _ dribbled a loose ball into the box and scored.
"We were losing our marks, and we didn't finish our shots," Hernando interim coach Ed Bowers said. "If we do those two things, it's a different game."
_ BRANT JAMES