Oak Hall advances to regional final


Published: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

Oak Hall coach Basil Benjamin was so frustrated during halftime of his team's regional semifinal game against visiting Tallahassee-Maclay that he decided to ask his players for suggestions.

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Oak Hall's Samantha Bleiweis, right, fights for the ball with Maclay's Anna Carvalho in the final minutes of the second half of Oak Hall's 4-3 victory.

AARON DAYE/The Gainesville Sun

The strategy paid off as players switched positions and Oak Hall overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat Tallahassee-Maclay in the region 1-2A semifinal.

Senior Sarah Fagler scored the game-winning goal on an assist from Samantha Bleiweiss with 19 minutes remaining to cap a rally that included three goals in an exciting 9-minute stretch.

"(The team) really turned things around in the second half," Benjamin said. "We removed all of the mistakes from the first half and played much more aggressively on offense."

Midfielder Emily Shore cut the deficit to 3-2 when she stole the ball and placed a shot over the head of goalie Callie Corbin Langford.

Only 50 seconds later junior Colleen Ugliano tied the game with her second goal of the night on an assist from Fagler.

"It was a tale of two halves," said Andrew Warner, head coach of Maclay. "In the second half we had some injuries, didn't get some breaks and couldn't get our offense going."

Maclay opened the scoring four minutes into the game on a goal by junior Emily Beck, and they pushed the lead to 2-0 on a bizarre own-goal that occurred when two Oak Hall players headed the ball into their own net.

Amanda Hunter added another goal with 8 minutes remaining in the first half to push Maclay's lead to 3-1.

"Our team stepped up to the competition when they had to," Benjamin said. "They will need to do it again if they want to keep on playing."

Oak Hall will host St. John Country Day on Friday in the regional finals.

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