CLEARWATER — In the past two seasons, the Palm Harbor University girls have lost just once en route to consecutive state titles, an undefeated streak that stretched to 34 games.
It took just two games this season for the Hurricanes to experience defeat.
Clearwater Central Catholic knocked off the two-time defending state champion Monday night with a 2-1 victory.
“It’s a great way to start the year,” Marauders coach Frank Seidl said. “It’s always good to beat a local rival and a motivator to set our expectations high.”
In the first half, CCC jumped out to a 2-0 lead as Kaitlin Parker scored twice. The first goal came on an assist by Lindsey Cooper and the second off an assist from Torey Camporini.
Jenn Marzi led a strong Marauders midfield that allowed the forwards to put pressure on the Hurricanes.
PHU, which was playing without Paige Lombard, scored once in the second but was unable to get a tying goal on CCC’s two freshman keepers.
“This is a great to win to start off high school coaching,” said Seidl, a first-year coach who played on the Marauders’ first boys state championship team in 1981. “Palm Harbor has been good for a lot of years.”
In the boys game, the Hurricanes, the defending 6A state finalist, needed to rally in the second half to beat CCC 3-2.
“CCC was ready and we were not prepared,” PHU coach Alex Delgado said. “We were playing a program with a lot of history, and I don’t know if our young team had nerves but we just didn’t come to play in the first 10 minutes.”
The Marauders jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the first half. The Hurricanes responded as Cody Sitton and L.J. Kim scored in the second half to lead the comeback.
Three times CCC had chances to score in the score in the second half, including a three-on-one breakaway in the final five minutes, but came away empty.