“I’m so proud of this team. They just kept going all the time. They kept playing hard.” Somer jones, Fontainebleau striker
MANDEVILLE — As Fontaine-
bleau senior goalkeeper Kristen Guidotti scooped up, snared and swatted away shot after shot — 10 saves in all — in the Bulldogs’ Division I quarterfinal playoff game against Dominican on Saturday, she kept focusing on one word.
“All that was running through my mind was, ‘Revenge,’ ” Guidotti said after third-seeded Fontainebleau shut out No. 7 seed Dominican 2-0 to avenge a heartbreaking loss to the same foe in last year’s quarterfinals.
In 2012, the Bulldogs squandered a 2-0 lead with about eight minutes left and lost to Dominican 3-2. Fontainebleau didn’t letting that happen again.
“I’m so proud of this team,” Bulldog senior striker Somer Jones said. “They just kept going all the time. They kept playing hard.”
She might have deflected praise to her teammates, but Jones played a major role in ensuring lightning wouldn’t strike twice. She scored both goals, each one a solo effort, and each one had the dozens of Dominican fans up in hackles.
In the 31st minute, Jones lofted a corner kick that took an improbable curve across the goal line and out of reach of Dominican sophomore goalkeeper Andrea McDonald. Dominican supporters clamored for an offsides call, but the officials ruled Jones’ hook shot a goal, giving the Bulldogs a 1-0 halftime edge.
Jones, who will play for Southern Miss next year, netted her second score in second-half stoppage time after she was hauled down inside the Dominican box and awarded a penalty kick that she swiftly slipped past a diving McDonald.
The call and subsequent goal capped off a physical game. Numerous collisions and possible handballs by both sides went unwhistled, adding to the intensity of the already heated playoff rematch.
Dominican coach Al Silvas offered mild praise to the officiating crew for allowing each side a great deal of leeway.
“It was a Dominican-Fontainebleau game, and the officials let the girls decide the match,” Silvas said. “The officials weren’t a factor.”
What was a factor, he said, was the Bulldogs’ dominance in the midfield, where Fontainebleau outhustled and outslugged a faltering Dominican offense that gradually got more desperate as the game wore on.
“We didn’t win the midfield today,” he said. “When you don’t win the midfield, you’re constantly on your heels.”
As the Fontainebleau defense went into lock down in the second half, Bulldogs coach Carly Hotard singled out the play of defender Christina Pando. Dominican’s only real chance to score in the second half came with less than five minutes left, when a well-executed play off a corner kick resulted in Jeannette Zavala rifling a shot just over the crossbar.
Another factor in the ’Dogs victory Saturday was their home field, a natural grass pitch that was soggy and, by the end of the game, muddy and ground up. But again, Silvas declined to make excuses for his team’s defeat.
“It’s (Fontainebleau’s) home field,” he said. “You have to come in and play in their elements.”
Before the game, Hotard said she and her team definitely
favored their field’s natural grass and the advantage it gave them.
But the primary theme running through the game was the Bulldogs’ shot at redemption, and Hotard said while she briefly discussed last year’s playoff disappointment with her players before Saturday’s game, she didn’t want to dwell on it.
“I don’t like to bring up the past,” Hotard said. “I like to learn from it, then have short-term memory loss.”
Still, the coach also couldn’t deny that her squad wanted revenge, and the Bulldogs displayed a fire that now carries them into the state semifinals against second-seeded Lafayette, which beat St. Thomas More 2-1.
“I’m just excited,” Hotard said. “The effort has always been there. We’ve just been on the unlucky side. Today could have gone either way. It could have went Dominican’s way, but we just came out on the lucky end.”