Wolves stop Blue Wave for district soccer title


Published: Friday, January 22, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 12:21 a.m.

A flurry of cheers drowned out the St. Francis announcer as the Wolves claimed their second consecutive district championship Friday night.

As the Wolves jumped, hugged and hollered, some P.K. Yonge girls held their heads, while others covered their faces. Some lost all balance, sprawling headfirst onto the soggy pitch as another 1-0 loss hung over them.

For the third time this year, one goal was the difference as each school split 1-0 during the regular season.

With most of the play revolving around the middle of the field, all it took to break the deadlock was a simple clearing error by the Blue Wave defense in the first half to give St. Francis the lone goal.

Eleven minutes into the game, St. Francis forward Jessica Bradley to slip through on a perfectly placed through ball and capitalized by ripping a shot into the right corner, just past the diving P.K. Yonge goalkeeper.

The goal seemed an afterthought as both defenses turned up the intensity, resulting in a much more physical game.

“They knew they had to play 80 minutes against P.K. because P.K. is not a team that’s going to quit on you,” St. Francis coach Henry Couch said. “It was a war out there.

“We didn’t want second place, they didn’t want second place.”

Toward the end of the first half, P.K. Yonge’s offense made a strong push, but came away empty-handed. That little surge propelled them early in he second half was more of the same as the Blue Wave continued to pour on the offensive pressure.

P.K. Yonge had a great chance to tie in the second half when sophomore Allison Mervau sliced through on a breakaway. With only freshman keeper Keene Brazda to beat, Mervau fired a shot to the upper right side of the net, but Keene made a terrific save, tipping the ball just over the crossbar with her right glove.

P.K. Yonge was stymied yet again on a breakaway late when freshman Nicole Llinas’s shot to the corner was again saved by Keene. Keene finished with seven saves on the night.

“We clearly had a lot of opportunities,” P.K. Yonge coach Pauline Hazan said. “Tonight wasn’t the night for us to win this game. Kudos to St. Francis. They wanted it more than we did.”

For St. Francis, the touch that fueled them for most of the season, wasn’t there Friday. Couch said the ball was played too much in the air, getting them out of their normal game.

Couch, whose team will host a team from the Tallahassee region said he fully expects to see the Blue Wave again this season. Couch even informed P.K. Yonge players that if both teams take care of business in the quarterfinals next week, they should prepare for another rematch.

“If we’re lucky enough to win next week, I really and truly believe we’ll play them again,” he said. “They’re a class team. They play hard and they’re well-coached.”

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