The Navarre High School girls’ soccer season ended Jan. 16 with a 1-0 loss to Pace in the semifinals of the Florida High School Athletics Association District 1-4A tournament played at the Navarre Soccer Complex and Bennett C. Russell Stadium.
“I am very proud of these girls,” Navarre coach Rob Simon said of the Lady Raiders. “They worked hard all year and continued to improve every week.”
(PHOTO: Hannah Gullickson (21) chases a loose ball against Crestview.)
Navarre, seeded third in the eight-team field, beat sixth-seeded Crestview 5-1 on Jan. 15 in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Pace lost 1-0 to top-seeded Niceville in the district championship match Friday, Jan. 18.
Pace 1, Navarre 0
“Pace is a very good team,” Simon said. “I think we were the dominant team on the field. We had many more chances than they did, but we just did not put the ball in the net.”
Halfway through the first half, the Raiders had a goal waved off on a corner kick by Moorer that landed in the left corner of the goal. The referee called a foul on a Raider for interfering with the Pace keeper and did not allow the goal.
The teams slugged it out at midfield. Whitley, Rylie Slaybaugh and Gabby Armstrong were seemingly everywhere, whether helping on defense or following up shots in the offensive end. The defense of Bri Young, Morgan Littlewood, Hayley Naker, Mercedes Schmick and Mariah McKinny forced the Patriot forwards into long range shots that keeper Juliana DeSalle handled easily. The defense played extremely well together. On several occasions they helped start an offensive rally.
At minute 62, Patriot Hannah Abrams moved toward the Raiders goal. When a Raider defender slipped on the wet field, Abrams seized the opportunity. She made a quick move and hit a hard shot that eluded DeSalle for the only score of the game.
For the last 18 minutes the Raiders pressured the Pace defense. Moorer had several shots that were barely saved.
“Come on go in,” Moorer said as she took her last shot, but the Patriot keeper jumped high to keep the ball out of the goal. While Moorer worked the left side, Gullickson and Whitley worked the middle. Fitzpatrick and Littlewood tested the right side, but the Patriots had an answer for every Raider attack.
It was the last game for seniors Naker and Littlewood, who have been part of the program for the past four years.
Navarre 5, Crestview 1
The final score was not an indication of how much the Lady Raiders dominated the contest. The Raiders constantly broke through the Bulldog defense to have one or two players going in alone on the Crestview goalkeeper. Only numerous offside calls slowed the Raiders’ offensive juggernaut.
After several close calls, the Raiders finally got on the board at the 32-minute mark. Hunter Moorer moved down the left side and crossed a pass to Hannah Gullickson in the middle of the field. The Bulldog keeper moved out of the goal to the 18-yard line to cut down the angle of attack but Gullickson lofted a shot the keeper could only watch roll past her into the left corner of the goal, giving the Raiders a 1-0 lead.
The Raiders scored again with two minutes to go in the first half. A Bulldog defender tried to clear the ball out of the defensive end. She struck the ball hard, but Moorer moved in front of the defender. The ball bounced off Moorer and rolled towards the goal. She was first to the ball and beat the Bulldog keeper with a shot from 15 yards and the Raiders took a 2-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Three minutes into the second half, Moorer threw a ball over several defenders to Gullickson close to the Bulldog goal. Gullickson quickly deposited the ball into the right corner of the goal, making the score 3-0.
Three minutes later, Moorer passed to Gullickson in front of goal. Gullickson blasted a shot that the Bulldog keeper could not handle. As the keeper dove to retrieve the rebound, Jade Whitley moved in and kicked the ball into the goal from a yard out for a four goal lead. The last Raider goal came in minute 66 when Jenny Fitzpatrick broke through the defense and went in alone against the Bulldog keeper. Fitzpatrick’s shot beat the Bulldog keeper for a 5-0 lead.