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Early Champion Ocala Hurricanes Finish Strong
Nov. 19, 2018
November 17th, 2018
⚽️ CANES 5 REDS 3
On a chilly Saturday morning in mid November, Ocala's Big Sun Soccer League kicked off the final day of its ten-game fall season. Players arrived with hats, sweaters, and even some blankets over their shoulders. And today Ocala's triple crown soccer champion Hurricanes left no doubts about their winning ways after clinching their U15 title in Week 7.
"We are not just the Hurricanes," said their head coach Fred Miley. "We are the Ocala Hurricanes. Just like the big leagues, we have claimed our families, our league, and our town to represent. We know soccer is about community, and we are part of that."
Speaking captain Angie LoForte (#5) lost the toss, and the Reds squad elected to defend the south goal with the bright low sun at their backs. The Ocala Hurricanes struck first with an interior run and assist from Ryan Gorman (#11) to Tre Ward (#13), who banged in his 13th goal. "We always take the south bench, so that goal was right in front of us," said Miley. "Ryan's work made that happen, and Tre dusted it off. A thing of beauty."
The Canes took that tenuous edge into the first water break and knew they were in a battle. The Reds answered early in the 2nd quarter with a goal of their own. Halftime was knotted up, 1-1. The rising sun took out the chill and the Hurricanes were glad to switch sides to get the glare out of their face. "When we switch sides and keep working like this, we're gonna blow this up," said Assistant Coach Corey Liles to the squad at halftime.
But Coach Peterson's Reds had their own ideas, setting up another goal early and holding their only lead about ten minutes until Canes striker Tessa Ward (#9) scooped up a loose ball and knocked a pass ahead for Ryan Gorman to bust into a free zone and nail his tenth tally of the season. "That's why Ryan's our crunch king," said Miley. "He struck that ball with complete certainty into the right side netting. I had no doubt he would nail that one. You see, Ryan doesn't like it much when another team starts thinking they're better. He loves his teammates and knows what the work together has meant. I think that is why nothing stops him from stepping up."
The Hurricanes regrouped for the final water break with some snarl in their chatter, going into the final quarter locked up at 2-2 with a team they defeated, 7-1, earlier in the season. "It's never easy to beat the same team twice in youth sports," Miley said later, but at that water break he echoed what Coach Corey said at halftime. "Now it's your turn to blow this up. You will blow this up."
The Canes won five corner kicks on the day, and the fifth would be the charm, as Nate "Q" Quiroz sent one in front of the near netting for Jackson Walker to knock in his first of the season, deflecting off a Red defender. "Jackson is not a big kid, but he is very smart and quick -- he scrapped for that goal in traffic and it put us ahead when we needed it," said Miley. "It was fun to see how he did that among some opposing players nearly twice his size."
From an interior skirmish at midfield, Tre Ward kept the momentum with what would prove to be the winner by stealing a ball and then blowing into a seam and then daylight all the way down the right touch line. That unassisted gesture of authority landed his second tally on the match and team high 14th on the season. "Tre hardly ever talks," said Miley. "But it was obvious he had the drive to make his statement on that play."
The Reds drew it close, at 4-3, with a penalty kick after a Canes foul in the box. But the Canes added a fifth goal from striker Lainey Liles, returning from an elbow injury from handling a hog in her 4H activity. She took a feed from Tre, to lock up the solid win in a wild finish. "Four goals in seventeen minutes is pretty wild," said Miley. "Glad we got three of them. Our kids always believed, and Coach Peterson admitted later to me that we had them gassed at the end. That's the endurance edge that we worked all season to acquire. That's why we ended our last five weeks of practice with wind sprints. Our kids said on Day 1 that they wanted to be excellent. They worked together for their title and that's why they have it. We are proud of how they finished as the champions they are. They could have slacked after they clinched it, but didn't. They finished well. This was always more about ourselves than our opponents. How we finish is just as important as how we start. Character and class, start to finish. They demonstrated both with purpose and clarity. We are a hard-working, passing team, and we know how to overcome anything together."
The Hurricanes go into the holidays with new friends and memories from a hard won title run. "This is about what they expected of themselves and each other. This is their title all the way. Josh Sieradzki is the only U15 player in Ocala with a triple crown," said his coach, "and we have three other players -- Angie, Lainey, and Q -- who have two titles. Everyone else was shuffled in with the draft. We drafted for character, and we were right. For the newcomers, we can only say, 'Once a Hurricane, always a Hurricane.' "
The question was posed and answered on Day 1: "What kind of team do you want to be?" The answer from each player was unanimous: "Excellent." The rest is now a fine set of memories from a great set of kids. There were no shortcuts. A 9-1 record takes hard work, something special, and something extra. The Canes outscored opponents, 48-13, with a lights out defense and a well-connected attack always ready to light it up. They worked to be the best and they were. The Ocala Hurricanes are champions again, with their names boldly signed onto how they started and how they finished. Yes, they were excellent together.
⚽️ BSYSL U15 BOX SCORE, 11/17/2018
WEEK 10 1ST HALF 2ND HALF FINAL
CANES 1 4 5
REDS 1 2 3
⚽️ TEAM STATS, MATCH #10
FOULS CK SAVES SOG GOALS
CANES 5 4 4 11 5
REDS 3 1 6 7 3
⚽️ SCORES/ASSISTS SEQUENCE
1st half: Tre/Ryan
~ 1st water break (1-0) ~
Halftime: Canes 1 Reds 1
~ 2nd water break (2-2) ~
Jackson/Q (corner kick)
FINAL: CANES 5 REDS 3
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