No. 1 Gainesville shocked by Forest

Published: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 12:28 a.m.

OCALA - The Hurricanes’ season-long stranglehold on first place in District 5A-4 suffered a shocking end Wednesday when Ocala Forest’s Josh Ciambella’s goal in the 67th minute clinched the 2-1 upset.

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Forest's (17) Nathan Lopez and (8) Tucker Foster celebrate after defeating Gainesville.

Doug Engle/Staff Photographer

“This just happens sometimes,” an emotional Gainesville coach Jeremy Witt said after speaking with his teary-eyed team.

“That’s soccer, that’s sports, that’s why you play it.”

Gainesville had spent the first 50 minutes of the game almost exclusively in Forest’s end but was unable to break through against what was often an eight-man defense.

When the Wildcats struck first on Tucker Foster’s goal in the 52nd minute, it marked a sudden shift in the field-position battle as the game became physical with frequent whistles.

Steven Badinga tied it just a minute later for the Hurricanes with a loft shot from 20-yards out that Forest keeper Jeremiah Oram got his hands on but couldn’t keep from spinning across the line.

The Wildcats then began to press the action and win the lion’s share of midfield battles, and finally found paydirt when Ciambella redirected a throw-in into the back of the net for the game-winner.

“We’re a possession team, but we could never get that established with so many whistles,” Witt said. “You’re just always picking yourself up and you never get in the flow.”

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