OCALA — Springstead put another notch in its belt on Thursday night, winning the Class 5A, District 7 title for the second straight season.
Thanks to team chemistry and a two-hour road trip, the Eagles upset top-seeded Forest 3-2 at West Port.
“It all started on the bus ride over,” Springstead coach Polo Furlong said. “The music, the attitudes, everything; it was perfect. They knew we had to score first, and we did.”
Sophomore forward Tara Vasquez struck first with a header in front of the net. She drilled the ball after receiving a corner kick assist from Ashley Walker.
Forest (12-4-2) didn’t give up easily. Freshman Ella Kahn slipped a shot past keeper Monica Vega on a breakaway to knot it at 1.
The Eagles (10-5-2) then jumped back on top when Vasquez scored for the fourth time in the tournament, going top shelf from 15 yards out past keeper Rose Torres (four saves).
Each team added a score before the half to make it 3-2.
Then the rains came.
The sky opened up and the field became sloppy. Play began to follow suit, and offense was at a premium. It became clear that whichever defense and keeper stood tall in the second half would hoist the district trophy.
Vega helped Furlong to his third district crown in six years, picking up four of her five saves in the final 40 minutes.
“I knew I had to step my game when it got close,” Vega said. “It was all about keeping the ball out of the net, and hopefully, I can keep doing that when we move on.”
Springstead will host a region quarterfinal on Thursday.