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Girls soccer: Osceola, Seminole advance to 4A-10 final

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Fri. January 17, 2014 | Andy Warrener

Seminole and Osceola reached the title game with 3-1 victories against Clearwater and Northeast, respectively.

Host Osceola benefitted from a Northeast own-goal in the first two minutes then held on.

Osceola beat Northeast 4-0 in the regular season. When junior Alison Watkins played the first cross of the game into a Viking defender for an own-goal, it looked like a blowout was brewing.

However, the Vikings stiffened thanks in great part to senior Mikera Williams.

Watkins’ goal in the sixth minute off an assist from Samantha Pifer made it 2-0.

The two-goal lead held until the second half, when Northeast senior Courtney Fink collided with Osceola’s Jessica Brown in goal. Fink was awarded the penalty kick, which she buried.

With 20 minutes left to play, the Vikings got on a fastbreak. Brown charged out to shut it down, but the ball ricocheted off her and was played at the empty net.

Only a last-second swoop-in from Gabby Holcombe cleared the ball away to safety. The final two minutes decided the game.

“It was so scary. We dropped everyone back. They moved everyone up,” Watkins said. “I heard someone call for it (the ball), and I just blocked it and went.”

Alison took the ball outside and outraced the rest of the field to tap the ball into the empty net with just seconds remaining.

“I think that’s the longest run of my life to goal,” Watkins said.

At Seminole, the Warhawks turned it on after a slow start to beat Clearwater.

“We were a little sluggish early on,” Seminole coach Gary Kolb said. “We became more aggressive and dictated the tempo in the second half.”

Seminole had goals from Leah Rapuano, Sarah Reinhold and Brandy Maulucci.

Gabrielle John, a freshman who leads the Warhawks with 21 goals this season, sat out Thursday’s game because she needed to be cleared by doctors after suffering concussion-like symptoms in last week’s Pinellas County Athletic Conference championship game against St. Petersburg, Kolb said.
John is expected to be cleared to play in tonight’s final.

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