High School Sports

Girls soccer | Maddison Krstec scores twice to lead Lakewood Ranch to region quarterfinal win

NAPLES -- Maddison Krstec scored both goals, and the Lakewood Ranch girls soccer team went on the road and ended Naples Gulf Coast's historic season, 2-1, on Thursday in a Class 4A-Region 3 quarterfinal.

The Sharks, who won their first district title in 10 years, appeared to earn more chances than the Mustangs, including a flurry of late-game rushes.

Gulf Coast's Daniela Justiniano scored on a free kick with about 18 minutes remaining to cut the deficit to one goal, but the team couldn't bury the equalizer in the final minutes.

Krstec, who was injured and sat out Friday's 4-0 loss to Venice in the district final, scored a goal in each half.

"They (Lakewood Ranch) deserve credit, but I'm very proud," Gulf Coast coach Mark Voorhees said. "The girls had a lot of heart. They brought a lot of passion."

Lakewood Ranch (20-1-2) will get a rematch against Venice, a 3-2 winner over Fort Myers, at 7 p.m. Jan. 27 at Venice in the region semifinal.

On a humid and sometimes rainy night, the drama started early. About two minutes into the game, a loose ball got past the Lakewood Ranch goalie, but a Sharks attacker missed an open net wide right.

Gulf Coast had success moving the ball into Mustangs territory during the first half, but couldn't capitalize on numerous scoring chances. The Sharks worked the ball up the field on the perimeter before moving it back toward the middle, but several crossing passes went untouched and other shots missed the net.

"Whoever's hungrier to get the ball, gets the ball," said Bruna Gomes, a Gulf Coast senior. "It was just luck, I guess."

Lakewood Ranch had six shots on goal in the first half, four more than Gulf Coast. Krstec, a sophomore, used her left foot to give her team a one-goal lead with a little less than four minutes remaining in the first half. She scored again with about 22 minutes remaining in the second half, to the delight of a loud contingent of Lakewood Ranch fans.

Talia Falco and Megan Hardy assisted on the goals.

The Gulf Coast players were visibly emotional after the game. Many were crying. Fatima DiModica, the Sharks' senior keeper, said she was "sad" to end a season with her "second family."

"I give it to that team," DiModica said. "It's always hard to play against them."

Guy Virgilio, the Lakewood Ranch coach, was equally complimentary of Gulf Coast.

"They came after us," Virgilio said. "I wish I was a spectator for this. It was a great game."

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