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Prep Sports Report

Bob Putnam, Rodney Page, Kelly Parsons

Girls soccer: Olivia Ross-Johnson comes through for Indian Rocks Christian



ST. PETERSBURG - For the second straight season, Olivia Ross-Johnson helped Indian Rocks Christian advance to the region tournament. On Thursday night in the Class A, District 6 semifinal against St. Petersburg Catholic, Ross-Johnson blasted a left-footer from 20 yards away with five minutes left in double overtime to give the Golden Eagles a 1-0 win.

In last season’s district semifinal against Calvary Christian, Ross-Johnson did the same thing with two minutes left in double overtime.

“Almost the exact same shot,” said Ross-Johnson, a senior.

Second seed IRC (12-7-1) will play top seed Shorecrest on Friday for the district championship. Shorecrest defeated Calvary Christian 4-0 in the night’s second semifinal. The Chargers have advanced to regionals every season since 2004.

In the first game, St. Petersburg Catholic (10-5) controlled the action for much of the game. The Barons outshot the Golden Eagles 14-6.

In the first half, SPC actually found the net in the 17th minute on an Elizabeth Vigrass shot, but she was ruled offsides and the goal was waived off. With five minutes left in the half, Olivia Mixa had her 30 yard shot saved.

And with 2:30 left in the game, the Barons’ Friske Callie hit the post on a cross into the box. Meanwhile, IRC had very few legitimate chances. There was a shot by Delight Williams with seven minutes left in double overtime that just cleared the upper post.

Then Ross-Johnson took over.

She received a pass about 30 yards from goal and took the ball to the left. She sized up her left-footer from just outside the 18-yard box and angled a line drive that hit the right side of the net for the game’s only goal.

“I saw the ball coming across and there was nobody there so I had to shoot it,” Ross-Johnson said. “That’s my shot and I when I saw it go in I just kind of fell.”

The second semifinal didn’t need overtime.

Shorecrest scored two first-half goals and cruised to the win. In the 28th minute, Shorecrest’s Sophie Wiltshire was fouled in the 18-yard box, which set up a penalty kick. Wiltshire drilled the kick to make it 1-0.

A few minutes later, the Chargers scored again. This time it was more of a traditional goal. Sam Epstein took the ball into the right corner and crossed it in front of the goal. Olivia Rovin redirected the cross into the goal from five yards away to make it 2-0.

Shorecrest (9-3-1) kept up the offensive pressure in the second half and earned a second penalty kick with 24 minutes left thanks to a foul in the box. This time Lexi Hiltunen made the shot for a 3-0 lead.

The lead grew to 4-0 with 17 minutes left. Hiltunen got free down the right sideline and crossed to Wiltshire, who was hanging out by the far post. Her header sneaked into the goal for her second of the night.

The Warriors (10-6) managed only two shots in the game.

“There was good energy from both teams at the beginning,” Shorecrest coach Neal Wolfrath said. “Once things leveled off to where I thought it would be we sort of gained control. The first goal settled us down and we started holding the ball much better.”

[Last modified: Friday, January 15, 2016 1:24am]


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