Ridge's 1-0 Victory Over McKeel Gives Coach 100th Career Win
Fri. January 11, 2013 at 2:00 a.m. | By Polk Preps Staff
Ridge Community Bolt Maria Pagano chases McKeel Academy Wildcat Mary Garib, Thursday, January 10, 2013 in Davenport, Florida. (Photo by RICK RUNION | The Ledger)
By BILL KEMP
LEDGER MEDIA GROUP
DAVENPORT | Ridge Community girls soccer didn't just end the regular season on a winning note, the Bolts delivered a special moment for their head coach.
Ridge turned back McKeel 1-0 Thursday at Ridge Community High School and handed Nick Nixon his 100th career win as varsity soccer head coach.
"It was a lot of work and a lot of years of support from my family," Nixon said. "But when you have a group of girls that put out effort it really means a lot."
The 100th win was no sure thing. McKeel and Ridge were locked in a scoreless tie until Bolts' sophomore Mary Garib bounced a shot into the far end of the net with 12:15 remaining in the game.
"It wasn't that fast but you take what you can get," Garib said. "I went full force. I kept going and didn't stop and did what I could and got the goal."
There weren't many scoring threats during the first half, but McKeel was able to push the ball deeper into Ridge territory during the last 15 minutes of the period.
The Bolts made some halftime adjustments that produced better field position in the second half.
"They owned the midfield a lot of the game. We scored the goal at just the right time," Nixon said. "We play three midfielders, and they weren't moving together as a group. The second half they started moving together and winning a lot more 50-50 balls."
Additionally, Nixon sat junior Kyleigh Grundy a little longer than normal after receiving a yellow card in the first half.
"We thought if we could get a few more minutes out of some of our other players, we could be more fresh at the end," Nixon said. "Once she came back in her motor was running, and she really stepped up."
The win was the fifth in a row for the Bolts (12-7-4), who will face Lake Region Tuesday in the Class 4A, District 7 tournament in Lakeland.
"We had set some expectations on the season and we were looking at 12 or 13 wins for a high-water mark," said Nixon, who won 58 games coaching boys soccer at Jonathan Alder High School in Plain City, Ohio before picking up 30 more wins coaching girls soccer at Kathleen.
McKeel (11-4-2) will play the Lake Wales-Tenoroc winner in the Class 3A, District 13 tournament Tuesday in Winter Haven.
"If we can get possession and get back to the way we've been playing, then we will be successful," McKeel Academy head coach Jacob Sweeney said.