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Gators milestone on a historic night

On the 20th anniversary of girls soccer in Pasco County, Vicky King, who has coached Land O'Lakes since the sport's inception in 1986, notched another milestone.

The Gators' 8-0 win over Class 5A, District 7 rival Ridgewood gave King her 300th win.

"It meant a lot more getting 300 today," King said. "It wasn't planned that way, but it was awesome."

Moreover, it came against first-year Rams coach Melissa Welch, who as Melissa Wells played for Ridgewood against Hudson in the county's first girls soccer game.

"It's not about beating Melissa," King said. "It's just that she was here and she was (part of) the beginning.''

After congratulating King, Welch said, "It just shows how great of a coach she is and how dedicated she is to the sport."

Land O'Lakes (8-4, 6-1 5A-7) led 1-0 at halftime on the first of Savannah Gorman's four goals. That marked the second time in three games Gorman has scored four. She has 15 this season, including 10 in the past three games.

Ridgewood (3-7, 2-4) had its best scoring chances in the first half, but Alicia Roddenberg was thwarted on a breakaway by Land O'Lakes goalkeeper Sarah Saavedra, and Ashley Brown narrowly missed the left post off a steal in the penalty box.

King, 300-126-32, has coached Land O'Lakes to seven district titles, four region finals and two state berths. In 2003, the Gators won the 2A state title.


Former rival coaches chime in

Only two other Pasco County girls soccer coaches have reached triple digits in wins, and both have moved on. Former River Ridge coach Keith Hooper left in 2003 to teach Spanish and coach cross country and boys soccer at Jonesboro High in an Atlanta suburb. Janet Heyman quit at Zephyrhills in the offseason and delivered a son, Rowan, in July.

Hooper coached River Ridge to a 140-81-27 record in 12 seasons and Zephyrhills went 100-60-22 in Janet Heyman's eight seasons. Both sent their congratulations to King before Thursday's game.

"It shows the quality of the program that she put together. It reflects on her dedication to the sport." - Keith Hooper

"Oh, wow. It's been an honor to have coached against her. What she does with her girls is amazing." - Janet Heyman