Region soccer: Newsome 2, Winter Park 1
LITHIA — The Class 5A region semifinal between Newsome and Winter Park on Tuesday night came down to a few key moments.
In the end, it was Newsome that made the most of those moments before it finally claimed victory, 2-1.
The first crucial instant came in the 23rd minute when Newsome's Jenna Oldham sent a long pass to a sprinting Sophie Shrader.
Shrader collected the ball at her feet, cut back to shake off the defender and suddenly found herself 15 yards from the goal with Winter Park’s keeper the lone remaining defender.
Cleanly, Shrader buried the ball in the net’s left side.
“I stayed calm,” Shrader said. “Normally I get a little nervous on those, but this time I wasn’t. When I turned it was pretty much wide open and I was confident. I thought if I miss I know my team has my back.”
Shrader followed that goal with another in the 61st minute, this time sprinting free on her own and sending a curving 30-yard shot over the diving goal keeper and into the net’s right corner.
Winter Park (21-5-3) cut the lead to 2-1 with a score in the 65th minute and had a great chance to tie it in the 70th minute when a shot was fired from 15 yards just under the crossbar.
That’s when Newsome goal keeper Madison Rowe made the most of the last crucial moment, leaping and tipping the ball over the goal.
“(Rowe) gives us so much confidence,” Shrader said. “We know she is always back there for us.”
Newsome (19-0-3) moves onto Friday night’s region final against powerhouse Palm Harbor University, which defeated Plant 1-0 Tuesday night.
“It should be a great game,” Newsome coach Kelly Townsend said. “We’re going to have to play our absolute best. We’re going to have fight hard for every ball the entire time.”