The Mariner Tritons broke a scoreless tie late in the second half to pull out a 1-0 victory Tuesday night over Riverdale in the Region 3A-3 quarterfinal playoffs at Tony McKenna Field.
"I'm extremely excited," said Tritons coach Lisa Schwarz. "That was a battle. I thought we dominated play in the first half, but we were concerned about their quick transitions."
The Tritons were keying on Riverdale's Mariah Marrero.
"We knew that once she got the ball their chances of scoring went up dramatically," Schwarz said.
Coming off an emotional and draining district championship game last Friday, the Tritons still dominated play in the first half, taking 14 shots on goal compared to just two for the Raiders. Most of the half was spent on Riverdale's side of the field. Even so, the half ended scoreless.
The Raiders looked like a different team in the second half. They came out quickly, startling the Tritons with several offensive strikes that almost resulted in a goal.
The Tritons fought back, pushing the ball up field several times. Freshman scoring sensation Holly Fritz scored the game's only goal with 15:30 left in the game. She took a pass that glanced off a defender, gained possession, moved right, and shot from inside the penalty area for the game-winner.
"I knew I had to get it on the frame (goal)," said Fritz. "I got a great pass, took it off of the defender, shot it and it went in."
Fritz has been doing that all season long, netting her 61st goal of the season, a District record.
"She's incredible. She reads the field very well, and finds a way to get the ball in the goal," said Schwarz.
After the goal, it was up to the defense to shut the door on the Raiders.
The Tritons face Estero in Friday's regional semifinals at 5 p.m. at Tony McKenna Field.
Estero eliminated North Fort Myers 4-3 in overtime despite Melinda Lukas scoring three goals for the Red Knights.