Mariner girls roll over Tarpon Springs to advance in soccer regional
The Mariner girls soccer team turned in a complete performance Tuesday night in its opening round match in the 4A State Tournament, defeating Tarpon Springs 8-0 in a time-shortened affair.
Senior captain Ariana Wilson led the way for the Tritons with four goals in a match that ended in the 67th minute.
“You never know what to expect in the playoffs, so mentally you have to be all in,” said Mariner head coach Jami Hagy. “The girls really moved the ball around well tonight and we had contributions from the whole team.”
It was all Tritons all night long, as the home team opened the scoring in the 9th minute and never looked back.
After a few frustrating offside calls on the attack, freshman standout Ryleigh Acosta quickly got the ball in play off of a throw in and found Wilson streaking to the net. Wilson continued her run, kept the Spongers’ defenders at bay and finished her chance.
In minute 22, Acosta used her speed to outrun her defender and left the ball just around the PK area for Sarah Paddock, who dove it past the keeper with her left boot.
Acosta would find the back of the net herself on a nifty play in minute 35. With a defender on her back, she worked from the corner of the box to the middle with some fancy footwork and chipped a shot from the penalty arc perfectly over the keeper’s head and into the goal.
Mariner would turn up the intensity even more in the second half, and wasted no time doing so.
Wilson scored her second of the match in minute 42 while junior Brooke Yount notched Mariner’s fifth goal in minute 46.
Wilson would net her third and fourth goals of the game in minutes 59 and 60.
Both goals were carbon copies of one another, as Cameron Fallacara made a run down the right sideline and centered to a net-crashing Wilson who finished the job.
“I knew we were going to come out strong, we had to and we always do,” Wilson said of her team’s performance.”
Hagy said Wilson has been a major addition for the Tritons (transfer from Oasis) and has brought leadership and work ethic to the group.
“Ari always shows up and works for her goals,” Hagy said. “Whenever we’re playing a bigger game, we really rely on her high pressure and she always brings that fire up top for us.”
In minute 67, freshman Arianna McIntyre notched the eighth and final goal to end the match and propel Mariner into the regional semifinal. There, the Tritons will take on a familiar foe in Lemon Bay (13-7), a team they recently met and defeated in a thrilling extra time match in the District final.
Hagy said the program is hungry for a trip to the regional final, a game they haven’t quite been able to reach.
“We go one game at a time,” Hagy said. “Obviously everybody’s goal is to go further, but we have to get past the next game. And the next game is always where Mariner stops. So Friday is big.”
Friday’s regional semifinal is at Mariner High School at 7 p.m.
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