ST. PETERSBURG — Playing in a borrowed jersey Friday, East Lake’s Madison Del Duca had the best night of her soccer life.
The junior scored all four goals in the Eagles’ 4-0 Class 5A, District 8 win over St. Petersburg. It was the first time she scored four goals in one game. It was also her ninth goal in three games this week.
“This has been a pretty good week for me,” said Del Duca, who left her jersey on the team bus.
Kristy Legoas, the teammate who gave up her jersey, might not get it back after Del Duca’s performance.
The first half was physical and neither team was able to score. But in the second half East Lake’s chances started finding the net. The first goal came three minutes into the half when Legoas, who was injured but still played a few minutes, found Del Duca on a perfect through ball.
Del Duca had only goalkeeper Theresa Kuduk between her and the net, and she buried the shot from 15 yards to make it 1-0.
“We were in their half the entire first half,” Del Duca said. “I knew that once we scored the gates would open, and they did.”
With 19 minutes left, Del Duca was fouled in the 18-yard box and earned a penalty kick, which she converted for a 2-0 lead. The third goal came minutes later when Del Duca juked her way from midfield and scored unassisted from inside the 18-yard box.
Her goal binge ended minutes later when she scored on a cross from Amanda Byrne to make it 4-0.
“We knew this was going to be a tough game,” Del Duca said. “I knew that I had to be the one to inspire the team and get one in the net.”
East Lake improves to 10-1-3 while St. Petersburg falls to 5-2-3.
Green Devils coach Rui Farias admitted his team has had better nights.
“We weren’t very good tonight,” Farias said. “We were flat. East Lake just wore us out.”
In the boys game, East Lake scored two early first-half goals and hung on 2-1 against the Green Devils. The Eagles (7-7-2) scored in the first minute when goalkeeper Sean Covington dropped a save in front of the net and David Caulfield was there to knock it in.
The second goal was set up by a nice cross from Gunnar Kruse to Tyler Worth, who blasted it in from 5 yards. St. Petersburg (5-2-4) scored late in the first when Hunter Loyden beat keeper Jeffrey Richman on a left-footer from 15 yards that hit the lower right post and bounced into the goal.