MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

May 13, 2014

FGHS boys soccer has been this far before

It can be called déjà vu, but the Fort Gibson Tigers are doing exactly what they did last year, preparing for a Class 4A boys soccer semifinal match.

The Tigers, 12-4 and No. 3 in the final OSSAA poll, travel to Oklahoma City to meet the Southeast Spartans, 12-2 and No. 8 in the poll, at 7 p.m. today.

Last year, the Tigers advanced to the semifinals before falling to Santa Fe South  2-1.

“Southeast is going to be a lot like Santa Fe last year,” said Fort Gibson coach Todd Friend. “They’re going to try and control the possessions. I imagine their forwards are going to be speedy. We’re just going to have to be on our game and take care of our opportunities.”

The Tigers advanced to the semifinals with a 3-2 win over Oologah last Thursday while the Spartans beat Woodward 2-1.

Friend believes the game plan for today’s match is a copy of last Thursday’s, especially they way his team played in the second half.

“We’ve just got to play strong defense,” Friend said. “We need to snuff every opportunity they have. When we do that, as we saw against Oologah, our opponent gets tired. They get worn out and the mentality is they can’t get through.”

Fort Gibson will rely on the offensive strength of three players to put the ball into the net. Zach Cobler has poured in 13 goals and assisted on eight others while Johan Chavez and Levi Ford each have 12 goals with Ford recording 12 assists to Chavez’s six.

Should a Spartan get through the Tigers’ defense, Friend knows he has a very capable net minder in Daniel Mielnik. The senior has allowed only nine goals in 14 matches against 4A competition.

“Last year was just being there in the semifinals,” Friend said. “This year, it’s just business as usual. They know the expectations are they’re just treating like a game.”

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