TAMPA — Alonso coach Kate Tancrell could finally let out a sigh of relief.
With Plant outplaying the Ravens for the better part of Wednesday night and getting more chances to break the 1-1 deadlock, the feeling was that Tancrell’s side was holding on for dear life.
But that changed quickly.
In an individual moment of skill, Alonso forward Kaytie Layton fought off a couple defenders, made a sliding pass to Julia Atenza and the forward poked the ball into the net in the 59th minute to give the Ravens a 2-1 victory, keeping alive their hopes of topping the district.
“Oh, my God, my heart like went into my stomach and then went right back up,” Tancrell said. “It was great. Julia and Kaytie work so hard and they’re really great up top, so I’m thankful for them. I didn’t want to tie. I wanted to come out of here with a win.”
For most of the night, that looked unlikely. Plant took the lead in the 23rd minute after senior captain Molly Ganther was left alone on a corner kick and headed it perfectly in the right-hand corner of the net.
But despite minimal chances in the first half, Layton equalized for the Ravens, timing her run perfectly to receive and finish a swooping ball from Lauren Mullen over the Plant back line in the 26th minute.
From there, Plant kept most of the possessions and fed junior forward Kaitlyn Steckel, who said she committed to UCF on Tuesday, with chances, though she couldn’t find the finishing touch. Outshooting Alonso 9-4, it was a frustrating night for Plant coach Kelvin Jones.
“I thought we played really well today but we just couldn’t get the ball in the net,” he said. “I mean, we played well. I don’t know. I can’t yell at them or feel badly.”