Buchholz drops tournament final

South Fork wins 1-0 to take the Lady Bobcat Invitational.


Published: Sunday, January 4, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 4, 2004 at 12:45 a.m.
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Buchholz's Jenn Richards defends the ball Saturday in the Bobcats' game against South Fork.

DARON DEAN/Special to The Sun
When the South Fork girls soccer team left Stuart and headed to Gainesville for the 26th annual Lady Bobcat Invitational hosted by Buchholz this weekend, the Bulldogs had three hours to reflect on last year's third-place finish, and arrived expecting nothing less than a win.
Despite a solid defensive effort from defending champion Buchholz in the Saturday's tournament final, South Fork junior Erica Mackie, also the event's most valuable player, netted the game's lone goal to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 victory at the University of Florida's Percy Beard Stadium.
"We came in expecting to win the tournament, and that was our entire goal," said South Fork coach Patty Morris, whose Class 5A squad has captured five consecutive district titles, but hasn't been past the regional finals.
"We came here to play tough teams and this was a great game that could have gone either way. You could really see all of the energy out there, and none of the girls wanted to come off the field," Morris said.
The Bulldogs (14-2) topped Tallahassee Chiles and Pensacola Washington in round-robin/pool play on Friday, and added an 8-0 win against Keystone Heights on Saturday morning to earn their way into the final.
Senior Dora Tapia, junior Brandi Bonifay and sophomores Katie Cochran and Mindy Decara joined Mackie on the all-tournament team.
Buchholz (12-2-3), a young squad with just five seniors, eased past Oak Hall, Jacksonville Bishop Kenny and Tallahassee Lincoln, while placing five players (Nikki Collins, Marie Hastings, Elena Luzins, Alison Riley and Casey Zook) on the all-tournament team.
"We started off strong, but they beat us to every ball," Buchholz coach Ron Messick said. "We were two evenly matched teams, and I think if we played 10 times, we'd probably split 5-5.
"But when we win a championship, we want to earn it. Tonight we didn't do that, and this is going to be a learning experience for us."
Matt Cannizzaro can be reached at (352) 374-5052 or sunpreps@hotmail.com.

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