News-Sun photo by DAN HOEHNE Mary Grace Bates has the ball and the goal in her sights, but three Lady Bulldogs have her in their sights as Frostproof held on for a 1-0 win to take the District 10-2A title Friday night.
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published: Sunday, January 20, 2013
Lady Dragons settle for runner-up
By DAN HOEHNE
LAKE PLACID - That proverbial hump couldn't quite be gotten over Friday night, as the Lady Dragons finished as District 10-2A Tournament runner-ups after a 1-0 loss to top-seeded Frostproof.
The regular season contests between Lake Placid and the Lady Bulldogs had provided a glimmer of hope that this third time might be the charm for the Dragons, as they had fallen in 2-1 and 3-1 matches.
And it would be another pitched battle on the pitch with the two squads striving for the distict title and a home date in the first round of the Regional Quarterfinals.
The Lake Placid defense hung tough, keeping the serious Frostproof shot attempts to a minimum, though offensively they had a hard time getting any serious threats of their own.
On a few occasions throughout the night, the Lady Dragon youth showed up a bit, perhaps, as charges into the Bulldog zone took a little too long to develop with the dribbler waiting an extra few steps before sending the ball ahead.
Those scant few moments allowed the Frostproof defenders to find their marks and recover.
The contest remained scoreless through much of the first half until, with just 2:18 left to go before the break, a Bulldog corner kick found its' way into the midst of a scrum in front of the goal and sent into the net for the only score Frostproof would end up needing to capture the win.
That Lake Placid youth, though, has been marked by its' never-quit attitude and tendency to ramp it up when faced with a deficit.
So the second half saw the intensity mount as the effort meter continued to rise.
But the Lady Bulldogs would hold their ground and hang on for the district title.
This means, in addition to holding the honor, they get a home contest Tuesday aginst District 9-2A runner-up Clearwater Central Catholic.
For the Dragons, whom head coach John Merlo saw reach relatively unexpected heights this season, a trip to the state playoffs is another pleasant surprise.
Then again, they will have to hit the road Tuesday to face District 9-2A champion St. Petersburgh Catholic, 1-0 winners over Clearwater.
"Knowing we'd be in the playoffs against one of those teams, the girls asked me if they really had a chance," Merlo said. "I told them it will be tough, but if we play our best we can play with them, keep it close and you never know what can happen.
"But however it goes, it's been a great season and this is great experience for these girls to be getting."
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