PALM HARBOR — Plant’s Nastasia Asgedom has incredible speed and an uncanny sense of where to be and when.
So it was no surprise that the Virginia Tech recruit was able to glide past the defense and put the ball in the net for what turned out to be the winning goal with about five minutes remaining in the Panthers’ 3-2 victory over Steinbrenner in the Class 5A, District 7 semifinals.
Plant (13-3-1) plays Palm Harbor University in tonight’s final at 7. The Hurricanes beat East Lake 3-0 in the other semifinal.
“It felt great to have that shot,” Asgedom said. “I just had to ignore the scoreboard and stay focused. The clock was expiring, and I knew I had to keep my composure. I was just running, and the ball was there perfect for me.”
The Panthers have a quick-strike offense that has scored at least three goals in six straight games. Thursday, it didn’t take long for them to take advantage of their speed, going up 2-0 on goals by Asgedom and Rebekah McFadden.
Steinbrenner rallied as Jessica Taylor scored in the first half and Miranda Gonzalez early in the second half to tie it.
“Even though we lost the lead, the team stayed calm and relaxed,” Asgedom said. “We felt comfortable that we could still win.”
The Panthers lost seven seniors from last season’s team and began this season 2-3, including losses to Steinbrenner and East Lake.
Since then, Plant is 11-0-1, the tie coming against PHU.
“We have some young players, but we’ve really started working together,” Asgedom said. “The closer we got toward the district tournament, we all knew we wanted to keep it going.”