BROOKSVILLE — With four players on the field accounting for more than 80 goals coming into Thursday night, the last thing anyone would have expected was a scoreless tie.
That is exactly what happened between Nature Coast and Springstead as the programs vied for Hernando County dominance.
“I don’t think we played to our potential tonight,” Nature Coast coach Lisa Masserio said. “We didn’t get as many combinations as we usually try to. We had some problems with (Springstead’s) pressure.”
The Sharks (10-1-1) dominated time of possession but were unable to get leading scorers Silvana Paonessa (23 goals) and Emily Myers (22) to break away. However, Nature Coast did have the two best scoring opportunities.
With 10 minutes left in the first half, a foul kick resulted in Paonessa missing off the post. Midfielder Victoria Wall rushed in for the rebound but drilled the shot barely over the crossbar.
The only other legitimate chance came from Paonessa as well. Taking a pass with 23 minutes remaining in the second half, she attempted a shot from 5 yards in front of the net. A brilliant save was made by Springstead keeper Emma Betters (seven saves).
“I thought we handled the adversity pretty well,” Springstead assistant David Hayes said. “Our defense was brilliant.”
The Eagles (10-1-1) were outshot 15-9 and were frustrated by the containment the Sharks defense had on leading scorer Samantha Betters (32 goals). As things wore on, the rivalry got overzealous.
Four yellow cards were handed out in the final five minutes, including three in the final two. Nature Coast’s Kendal Worden and Briana Baugher and Springstead’s Brittany Magrini and Kirstin Penny picked up cards for overaggressive play and insubordinate talk toward officials.