SPRING HILL — With its win at Booster Stadium in the Class 4A region quarterfinals Tuesday night, Springstead cemented this season’s team as one of the two best in school history.
The Eagles overcame a slow start to dominate Ridgeview 3-1.
Both teams looked to be dragging while they felt each other out, but a miscue from the Springstead defense allowed Ridgeview (11-5-3) to strike first.
Panthers sophomore Mike Williams took the ball in Eagles territory after the defense mishandled it. He lobbed the ball over keeper Jordan Leathers to put Ridgeview up 1-0 midway through the first half.
“The biggest thing is we kept our heads up,” Springstead leading scorer Matt Campbell said. “We had confidence that we were going to come back.”
The deficit seemed to wake up the Eagles (19-2). Less than three minutes later, Mike Szafranski drilled his 12th goal of the season into the back of the net to tie. Justin Ladouceur’s centering pass was right on point for the assist.
Campbell put his team up for good in the 33rd minute of the second half. A corner kick from Harry Prentice (team-leading 10th assist) was headed past keeper Lochlin Cravey to make it 2-1. A go-ahead score in the second half from Campbell was his 28th of the season.
The Eagles put up 21 shots compared to nine from the Panthers. Leathers only needed to make two saves, and Cravey made some very nice stops among his 11 saves.
“That’s the style of play we play here at Springstead, and the kids have really bought into it,” Eagles coach Sal Calabrese said. “This isn’t about one season for us. It’s four years of hard work for our seniors, and they’re taking it one game at a time.”
The next match of this game-by-game performance will come Friday at Fleming Island.
“I know Fleming Island is good sized and loaded with seniors,” Calabrese said. “We didn’t know anything about (Ridgeview) before, so I expect it’ll be about how focused we are.”