Boys soccer: Tampa Prep wins second state title in three seasons



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Fri. February 17, 2012 | Joey Knight | Email

Boys soccer: Tampa Prep wins second state title in three seasons

TAMPA — Of all the Fort Myers Evangelical Christian scouting reports at Tampa Prep coach Doug Smith’s disposal, the most priceless existed in the cerebrum of sophomore forward Michael Spezza.

Or more specifically, Evangelical Christian transfer Michael Spezza. So over a sandwich in Smith’s history classroom around lunchtime Monday, Spezza gave Smith the lowdown on his old team.

Four nights later, he helped apply the beatdown on his old team.

Two Spezza corner kicks resulted in Jordan Hayes headers, and senior reserve Ralph Grauer added an unassisted goal, lifting the Terrapins (19-4-1) to a 3-0 romp Friday in the Class A title game at USF’s Corbett Soccer Stadium.

“I couldn’t stand to lose to my old school after moving,” Spezza said. “I would’ve never lived that down.”

The title is Tampa Prep’s fifth since 2005, and second in three seasons. Its five titles are tied for fourth most in state history.

“Best feeling in the world,” said Hayes, a senior who finished the season with 30 goals.

“We came out before the game and said, ‘It’s going to all come down to heart tonight. If we want to win this game, we’ll win this game because we have the talent, we have the skill.’ ”

On a muggy evening of intermittent drizzling rain, the Terrapins maximized the wider pitch of Corbett Stadium and won balls in the air against a physically bigger Sentinels side of which Spezza had warned them.

Hayes’ headers occurred in the fourth and 66th minutes, the latter coming two minutes after he had a penalty kick blocked by keeper Davis Dardaman. Grauer scored in the 34th, taking a ball up the middle, splitting two defenders near the box and shooting from about 10 yards.

Defensively, the Terps allowed one shot on goal. While lauding his entire backfield, Smith gave special credit to senior P.J. Field, who moved to sweeper only five games before.

“He had not played there throughout the entire year, and frankly, was on the bubble of a starting position,” Smith said. “We shuffled some guys around and he just stepped up and was phenomenal. He was playing like a veteran, like he’d been playing there for four years.”

On the Terrapins’ de facto senior night, it seemed fitting.

“We said, ‘If you’re going to play for someone tonight, play for yourselves, play for the nine seniors, that will be their last game,’ ” Hayes said. “Everybody came out with 110 percent tonight and it worked out for us.”

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