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TAMPA — Steinbrenner follows a simple rule.
“Our philosophy is after every goal, we play harder,” coach Chad Ebright said.
And the Warriors did that Tuesday. Although Gaither pressured early, the Cowboys had no answer for the Warriors’ outside speed as Steinbrenner won 4-1.
The Cowboys (5-3-1) struck first. On a steal, senior forward Jonas Bukh shook one defender and slipped a shot past another into the back of the net.
Within two minutes Steinbrenner charged back. After two shots hit the crossbar, Austin Renz tied the game at 1.
Midfielder Blake Wilson put the Warriors (5-0-1) up 2-1 two minutes later. In the ninth minute, Enrique Barboto and Derek Gebhard played a great pass and catch halfway down the field and it was 3-1 going into the half.
“We shifted to 4-3 and made some personnel changes, but the bottom line was we weren’t winning our battles,” Gaither coach Eric Sims said.
In the second half, Steinbrenner brought an extra defender back and shut down Bukh and the Gaither offense.
The Cowboys nearly cut into the lead when senior defender Jacob Snidle place a free kick from behind the midfield stripe right on target. But Warriors goalkeeper Christian Knight was right there for the save.
Gaither had two more good offensive pushes, one in the 23rd minute and again in the final two minutes but could not convert.
The Gaither girls spotted Steinbrenner two own goals in a 4-0 loss.
The Warriors (7-2-1) got scores from senior forward Cici Gonzalez and freshman midfielder Jessica Taylor.
“This is a great team, we all work together and I already feel like I’m a part of it,” Taylor said of the defending 2A state champion.
The Cowboys fell to 5-4-1.