Wiregrass girls’ soccer win season opener


Arielle Bowry

Kylie Bennington, junior, looking to pass to her teammate during the Zephyrhills game.

Wiregrass Ranch lady Bulls varsity soccer began their season at home against the Zephyrhills Bulldogs on Nov. 7, claiming an 8-2 victory.

Wiregrass senior forward Isabella Maldonaldo led the team in scoring with four goals, followed by two goals scored by junior midfielder Sydney Spitzer. The Bulls got the upper hand with two more goals made by senior midfielder Lily Brooks and freshman forward Isabella Stevenson. Contributing to the score, sophomore forward Kennedy Bequette led the team offensively with four assists.

Maldonaldo, who was praised by MaxPreps as “Player of the Game,” explained what the team did to secure a win.

“I feel what went well was our connections on the field,” Maldonaldo said. “We were able to move the ball around the field really well to get numerous opportunities to score.”

Leading the team in goals, Maldonado explained her mindset during the game.

“I focused on finding the gaps and weaknesses of our opponent, and I either took advantage or set my teammates up to take advantage of those gaps and weaknesses,” Maldonaldo said.

Before the season opener win, Wiregrass girls’ soccer worked on cultivating a confident, positive team environment. Head coach for the Bulls, Chloe Mercado, described her feelings in this regard.

Varsity sophomore Marissa Staton (left) and senior Emily Erker (right) in the locker room pre-game. (Arielle Bowry)

“We still need to build confidence in each other and communicate on the field to help us become more effective against harder competition,” Mercado said.

Mercado believes that despite the victory against Zephyrhills, there is room for improvement and bonding for the new team.

“As a whole team, we are still looking to build more chemistry on the field to be able to string along passes better and more consistently throughout the game,” Mercado said. “[The girls] were able to really support each other in this first game, which will hopefully continue to translate into our game play and success all season long.”

The 2022-2023 girls’ soccer season for Wiregrass Ranch is starting off strong. The Bulls seek to increase momentum, athleticism, and chemistry for upcoming games.

The next few games for girls varsity soccer are at Pasco on Nov. 14 and home against Land O’ Lakes on Nov. 17.