North again edges Mariner in penalty kicks to claim girls soccer district crown | News, Sports, Jobs

North again edges Mariner in penalty kicks to claim girls soccer district crown | News, Sports, Jobs

The Red Knights women’s soccer team hoists the district championship trophy. CJ HADDAD

The Red Knights women’s soccer team hoists the district championship trophy. CJ HADDAD

When the referee blew the whistle to signify overtime was over and the score was 2-2, there was a bit of deja vu between the North Fort Myers and Mariner Girls football teams Tuesday night at Moody Field. of North High.

Talented clubs and familiar foes would once again head to the penalty shootout to decide the district champion.

Just like North (12-2-3) did a year ago, the Red Knights emerged victorious, 4-2, in PK to hoist the FHSAA 5A District 11 crown.

“I’ve been part of a lot of wins, and this one is special,” North head coach Nick Erickson said. “Not because (of our opponent), it’s because of what happened before. Nobody thought we were going to win this game. I think for the most part tonight we did a good job execution. I thought we were on our feet before the majority of the game against them. I thought they had their moments where they stepped up. All credit goes to the girls, they changed the season.

While last year’s District Championship saw a 0-0 draw before the penalty shootout, there were goals to be scored in this one, and fast. Just 30 seconds into the game, Mariner senior Gloria Quintanilla (14-4-1) stopped a cleanup attempt in opposing territory and settled the ball near the left sideline. The senior then found junior Ryleigh Acosta, who dribbled to her right just outside the penalty area and fired a shot over keeper Aliyah Morgan’s head and into the net.

North found the equalizer in the 33rd minute when rookie Hannah Busenbark dribbled past defenders in midfield, worked lightly to her right and fired to her body as she snuck the ball into the bottom left corner of the net.

The score remained 1-1 at half-time and stayed that way until the 63rd minute when North took their first lead of the game. A Red Knights attack resulted in deep possession of Mariner territory, and a 50/50 ball spat from a group to the boot of second Carolina Jenkins. Jenkins took his time, picked his spot and fired a shooting beauty over Lataya Simmons’ outstretched arms and into the back of the net.

“It’s awesome,” Erickson said of how his team, especially the young talents, have established themselves on the big stage. “That’s exactly what we expect from them, just as (Mariner) expects their young players to step up, and they do too. Both of these schools are really lucky for the level of players we have. have – and it’s always the next girl.

Just 3 minutes after North took the lead, a penalty was awarded against the Red Knights in the box as Tritons rookie Carly Paz had his arm and shoulder pulled while dribbling towards the net. Up stepped up senior captain Sarah Paddock, who took a brilliantly calm penalty, slotting it into the top right corner of the net to tie things up.

Chances had to be had on both sides in the 35 minutes remaining between the end of regulation time and extra time, but neither found the back of the next one. On penalties for the second year in a row the clubs went.

Morgan and Simmons both made big saves in the first round to keep the shootout scoreless, and in the second Morgan again denied Mariner.

“Coming into the PKs, I was extremely confident in my teammates and I was going to get the job done,” Morgan said. “We play this team so many times, we know their style and who they are. I did what I had to do and prayed for my teammates to support me, and they did.

North converted every one of his chances in the second, third, fourth and fifth rounds, capped by senior winner Alexa Lara, to take the win.

“It’s still a game,” Mariners head coach Jami Hagy said of the game against North. “And that’s who shows up.” Unfortunately, it’s still PKs this year. I knew the energy would be high and we went into it knowing it’s always game after game with North regardless of previous results. We knew it was going to be tough. It comes down to a mistake or two.

Of the battles between North and Mariner, Erickson said, “These kids have known each other since they were 8, 9, 10. There is only allegiance to the school. It’s just different. This is not a joke. I would put this rivalry against any rivalry in this county, regardless of sport. It’s great fun for teams and coaches.

Earlier this year, Mariner beat North 4-0, and the Red Knights followed that up with a 5-0 loss to North Port. They have since gone 7-0. Erickson said the team used this as a turning point in the season and changed their mentality.

He said the team’s success comes from “putting their egos aside and understanding that everyone in this room can play football. Hence the kids we had on this pitch tonight playing huge minutes for the very first time. We didn’t put our best foot forward the first time, we didn’t play well. Since then, we’ve had a little chat and they’ve decided to change the season – these kids.

With an automatic state tournament bid for North, Mariner also has a great chance to continue their season, just like they did last year, based on standings. Despite losing the Districts a season ago to North, the Newts then embarked on a run, including a loss to North, to win the 5A state championship.

“It’s a state of mind. You have to show up every game,” Hagy said of being a defending state champion. “We got the best out of everyone all year. We have to show up and do our best because they are coming to us.

FHSAA materials will be released this week.

– Connect with Associate Sportswriter CJ Haddad on Twitter: @haddad_cj

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