MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
TAMPA — Defending state champion Tampa Prep wasted little time putting away Academy at the Lakes in Wednesday’s Class 2A, District 9 semifinal.
Less than a half to be exact, but the first half was played out to give the Wildcats an opportunity to score. The host Terrapins won 8-0 by the mercy rule.
Tampa Prep will play Bishop McLaughlin, a 1-0 semifinal winner over Indian Rocks Christian in overtime, in Friday night’s final at 7.
Asked about another state championship run, Tampa Prep coach Doug Smith said, “We’re hopeful. We’re going to have some competition. It’s a long road.”
Tampa Prep (14-4-1) got two goals from Jake Peterson in the third and fourth minutes. By the ninth minute, the Terrapins led 3-0 on Zack Hebert’s score and the rout was on.
“You go up two goals early, we felt pretty good about that,” Smith said.
Jordan Hayes had a hat trick and leads the team with 15 goals. Two of Hayes’ scores came off passes from Gustavo Pires, who had five assists.
Smith marveled at the play of Pires, a Brazilian and former goalkeeper.
“His development from the start of the season is phenomenal,” Smith said.
Pires and Destin Lyons had the other goals for the Terrapins.
In the first game, the lone goal came off the head of Bishop McLaughlin’s Caelin Campbell, who flicked the ball inside the right post off a corner kick from Donovan Lovelock.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match,” Hurricanes coach John Mayer said.
“One of the kids said (Lovelock) was going to hit a line drive corner and Caelin got a head on it and that was all she wrote.”