Green Dragons shock Bulldogs
Mark Pinson | Highlands TodayLAKE PLACID - Lake Placid's Stephanie Bennett scored late in regulation to tie the match and Michelle Hunter netted the winning goal in overtime to give the Green Dragons a thrilling 3-2 win over DeSoto on Tuesday night.
Published: January 17, 2013
Published: January 17, 2013
The victory in the semifinals of the Class 2A-District 10 tournament moves Lake Placid into the championship match against No. 1 seed Frostproof on Friday night.
"The girls showed a lot of fight and it was a great win for us," said Lake Placid girls soccer coach John Merlo. "We're a young team and we finally learned to finish a match out."
Lake Placid stunned DeSoto with a goal by Bennett in the first two minutes of the match to take an early lead.
DeSoto answered with the tying goal with 29:27 remaining in the first half, and the Bulldogs took the lead a minute later.
Lake Placid had several good scoring opportunities, but failed to capitalize on them and went into the half trailing by a score of 2-1.
The Green Dragons dominated the pace of play in the second half and continued to pepper the DeSoto goal with shots, but the Bulldog keeper was up to the task and kept the ball out of the net.
Lake Placid finally broke through when Bennett gathered in a loose ball in front of the DeSoto goal and blasted a laser shot into the back of the net to tie the match at 2 with 7:38 remaining in regulation.
"We tend to play a little harder when we're down," Merlo said. "I was proud that we didn't get down on ourselves when we fell behind.
"When we believe and have confidence we can play with anyone."
Neither team scored in regulation, and the two tired squads headed to overtime.
DeSoto had a pair of excellent scoring opportunities, but failed to convert and Lake Placid maneuvered the ball down the field on a nice run by Bennett.
Bennett drew the Bulldog defenders toward her on the right side of the goal and she deftly passed the ball to Hunter, who rifled the ball into the back of the net for the golden goal and the victory.
"The girls didn't quit and really fought for this win," Merlo said. "We're a real young team and to be able to come from behind and win this match and advance to the district finals is a great accomplishment."
Lake Placid will take on a talented Frostproof team that defeated Mulberry by a score of 2-0 in Tuesday's other semifinal.
The Green Dragons, who improved to 10-4-2 overall, will have their hands full since they lost both regular season matches to the Bulldogs.
"Frostproof is a good team and even though we lost both matches, we played them tough," Merlo said. "We played them the best out of all the teams in the district."
No matter the outcome of Friday's championship match, Lake Placid is guaranteed a berth in the regional quarterfinals.
The district winner earns a home match, while the district runner-up has to play on the road.
"We've played well in spurts this season," Merlo said. "We get to play another match next week so we can play relaxed.
"We haven't won the district in a number of years and if we come out and play our best, anything can happen."
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