LAKEWOOD RANCH -- It wasn't the result either team wanted. And Guy Virgilio guessed the fans who braved Friday's chilly conditions would have preferred to see some goals buried in the back of the net.
But Virgilio, Lakewood Ranch's longtime girls soccer coach, thought his team's non-district match with Manatee played out like it should.
"I think 0-0," he said, "was the right score."
And that's how it ended, with the Mustangs (13-0-2) and Hurricanes (7-1-3) playing to a scoreless tie.
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It was a different result than when Lakewood Ranch scored a 5-1 win over Manatee in early November. But both coaches acknowledged that game was closer than the result indicated, and Friday's action was a more accurate account of how the teams measure up with each other.
"Both teams had good, quality chances, but unfortunately, both teams weren't able to finish," said Canes coach George Ameres. "Both teams played well defensively. But that's the way it ended -- 0-0."
Each team had chances late. A shot by Manatee's Sydney Helen Morrow rolled right of the far post during the game's final 10 minutes, and Lakewood Ranch's corner kick inside of the final minute didn't produce a goal.
"They're a great team," Virgilio said. "It was a hard-fought game on both ends, and we both knew it was going to be like that. I'm proud of the girls; I'm proud of both teams. I think that was a great game we just watched."
The game took a scary turn with about nine minutes remaining when the Mustangs' Madison Mirandilla got tangled up with a Manatee player at midfield and banged her head on the ground. Mirandilla, whose father, Rene, was the Hurricanes' longtime boys soccer coach, was taken to a local hospital by an ambulance.
"I think she's going to be OK. She was moving everything; she didn't lose consciousness," Virgilio said. "When you start messing around with neck and the head, you don't want to take a chance with it. And I think (transporting Mirandilla to the hospital) was the right thing to do."
Each team is coming off a banner year -- Lakewood Ranch reached the Class 4A state semifinals and Manatee won its first district title in 15 seasons.
Both coaches believe games such as Friday's will help each team either duplicate or better those results.
"I thought we played really good soccer, and this is the point of the season now where we want to start to peak," Ameres said, "and figure some of the adjustments that need to be made and solidify starting positions and stuff like that."
"This game was good for him; it was good for us," he said. "We're going to have to face teams just as good if not better during the playoffs, so you have a rivalry and a game like this, it just helps us prepare for the playoffs."