Boys soccer: Shorecrest 1, St. Petersburg Catholic 1
ST. PETERSBURG – A little bit of luck, a little bit of skill and a whole lot of defense.
The matchup between district rivals St. Petersburg Catholic and Shorecrest Prep on Thursday night lived up to its billing, ending in a 1-1 draw.
In their past 11 meetings, SPC holds a slight 5-4-2 edge head-to-head.
Returning from a 20-day break, the visiting Barons (8-0-1, 5-0-1 in Class A-6) commanded first-half possession but trailed the Chargers (8-2-2, 4-0-2) after 20 minutes.
On their only first-half foray into the box, freshman Will Hodgson grabbed a loose ball and spun a 15-yard shot across the net, off the bottom of the crossbar and in.
“The ball was bouncing and I didn't want to power it and miss the net,” said Hodgson of his first varsity goal.
"We got a little lucky," said Shorecrest coach Milen Gagenelov. "Will got that ball on his weak leg but he fought for that goal."
After being denied by a SPC foul and a clutch Will Tirone save, the third time was the charm for junior Kaan Gezen with eight minutes left in the half as he headed a beautiful right-wing cross from senior Chris Coughlin into the open left side of the net.
Defense ruled the final scoreless 40 minutes as Drew Zolper and Drew Hupp helped to bottle up the SPC attack while Kevin Trehy and Spencer Bowlby did the same to Shorecrest.
"(SPC) has some strong, fast players on top, and we made some changes at midfield and forward that worked," said Gagenelov, moving midfielder Zolper to defense and forward at times.
"We were rusty," said Barons head coach Grant Criswell. "We usually possess the ball better than that and that's something we have to clean up."
"We would have played them so much better before the Christmas break," said Gezen. "Shorecrest is tough and we look forward to playing them again in districts."