MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

May 4, 2013

Tigers blank Miami, also advance to semifinals


Phoenix Staff Reports

— MIAMI, Okla. — The Fords were at it offensively, again, and the drive is taking Fort Gibson to the Class 4A soccer semifinals.

Austin Ford scored two goals and assisted his brother Levi Ford on the other and with superb goaltending by Daniel Mielnik, the Tigers blanked Miami 3-0 for a quarterfinal win that atones for a shootout loss to these same Wardogs back on April 2 in the rain.

No rain Friday, and the Tigers now await Santa Fe South, a 2-1 winner over Dove Science Academy, as part of the 4A final four next Tuesday, likely as part of a doubleheader at Leo Donahue Tiger Stadium.

“We thought the conditions worked against us last time. Tonight we took it to them and were solid in all phases,” FGHS coach Todd Friend said.

It didn’t take long to show it either.

Trent Brown had possession wide, crossed high and Ford chested the ball and volleyed it in for a 1-0 lead five minutes into the game. That score stood until the half.

Eight minutes after intermission, Austin Ford had possession wide and played it into the six-yard box where Levi Ford was waiting, dropping it in for 2-0 advantage.

“We were all clicking. We just had great chemistry and when we have that, nothing can stop us,” Austin Ford said. “My brother and I share a room. I think we’ve had a long time to develop chemistry.”

At the 31-minute mark, Austin Ford took it in all alone on a dribble down the middle.

Fort Gibson had 18 shots on goal to Miami’s 11.

Mielnik had 11 saves.

“We run a highline defense and a lot of people try to play the ball through. Daniel came out of the box and made some nice saves. He plays with his brain and never gets nervous out there,” FGHS coach Todd Friend said.

“I have to be on my toes all the time,” Mielnik said. “It’s our first semifinal and that’s really exciting but we still have two more to go so we’ve got to keep our focus on a game at a time.”