Last Tuesday’s matchup between the Matanzas Pirates and the Ponte Vedra Sharks was anticipated by many to be a preview of the district 4 championship game.
The host Sharks came into the match with an 8-2-4 record while the Pirates boasted a 7-2 record. In addition the visiting Pirates had the district’s leading scorer in Miracle Porter, who has scored 16 goals in nine games this season.
But the Sharks had Abby Miller, Piper Dostikas, Layla Adamo, Kristen Sandifer and at least seven other girls who understand that soccer is a team game and are able to execute coach Dave Silverburg’s ball control strategy to near perfection in coasting to a decisive 4-1 win.
Ponte Vedra dominated play throughout the match although they trailed 1-0 with 8:47 remaining in the first half when Porter took advantage of a rare misplay by the Sharks’ in front of their goal.
The Sharks got even on a corner kick by Dostikas that the Matanzas keeper bobbled before dropping the ball into her goal. It didn’t take long for Ponte Vedra to take the lead. Miller’s searing kick at the 37-minute mark beat the keeper badly to her far left side.
Sandifer pushed the Shark’s advantage to 3-1 with 11 minutes left as Ponte Vedra continued to control the ball in the Pirates end of the field.
Until Miller’s goal at the start of the second half, the Sharks outshot the visitors by a wide margin and they continued to dominate in the second half.
Mary Stephens sent a booming kick just over the cross bar then Dostikas banged a ball off the right post and another Miller blast just missed.
Matanzas appeared to be waiting for Porter to step up and make plays but the smothering ball control play of the Sharks did not allow it. Adamo capped the scoring for Ponte Vedra with an unassisted goal 15 seconds before the final horn.