TEAM OF THE NIGHT
The Hudson girls soccer team is headed to the region final for the first time in school history, and it did it in remarkable fashion, ralling from a 3-1 deficit to beat River Ridge 4-3 on two goals by freshman Brooke McKillen. That's pretty remarkable considering no one comes back from a 3-1 deficit in soccer (Okay, maybe once in a while, but hardly ever). This is a great story -- Christine Rizzieri was hired four years ago and took Hudson from nothing to something, compiling a 59-14-4 mark and the school's first postseason appearance and win ever. She left after last season, and the Cobras also lost Player of the Year Lindsay Zullo. New coach Stephen Jones, 24, is hired right before the season starts, and picks up right where Rizzieri left off. Behind standouts like Logan McGee, Alicia Schuering and keeper Jessica Imbimbo, a starter since her freshman year, the Cobras are now 18-3-3. Now the question is this: Can Jones do something Rizzieri never could Friday night and lead his team past Eustis, which has ended the Cobras' season the past two years?
PLAYER OF THE NIGHT
One of the best goals I've ever seen in a girls soccer game was scored Tuesday night by Seminole's Sierra Lelii, who went far post and upper 90 from about 25 yards out with 2:46 remaining to beat East Lake 2-1. Lelii said she felt like 20 people were on her all night due to some tremndous marking by East Lake, and I'm pretty sure I saw her roll her eyes and shake her head in frustration 211 times. Or maybe it was 212. But when teammate Jordyn Turner managed to poke a ball free, Lelii was quick to take it, dribble a few feet and then unload. for a split second, it seemed like a bad choice -- Lelii had plenty of room to dribble in closer, none of her teammates were around the net, she had a tough angle. But all those things may be what made the shot so terrific. It caught the East Lake keeper by surprise, and had such nice pace on it and was so perfectly placed it was breathtaking (or heartbreaking, depending on who you were rooting on). Sure wish someone had video of it (hint hint!) so I could put it up here. (Holla: firstname.lastname@example.org)
1. Seffner Christian's Steve Cunningham is the first two-sport player to make meanderings after scoring 26 (on five 3-pointers) in a win Tuesday. If you recall, Cunningham scored seven goals in a soccer game a few weeks back.
2. Freshman Aspen Hedges scored 16 to lead her Northeast girls basketball team past Pinellas Park.
3. Cory Salzer doubled her season average with 16 points in Berkeley Prep's win.
4. Sharee Booze's fine basketball career ended with a 25-point performance, but Countryside and Savannah Stona (17 points) were too much for the Hurricanes to overcome.
5. Breon Bostic scored 22 points as Largo needed overtime to beat Seminole 58-52 despite 27 from Christian Whiting.
6. More from Largo's win: Patrick Kearney and Darron McNeil each made four 3-pointers.
7. Kyle Farrell of Zephyrhills scored 30, and Gulf's David Ramirez had 33, but the Bulldogs got the victory.
8. King's Reshard Brown netted 26 in a win over Alonso.
9. Norman Williams had a team-high 11, and Boca Ciega outscored Lakewood 17-11 in the fourth quarter to beat archrival Lakewood 53-49.
10. Jamal Cherry scored 20 and Devontae Morgan made 11 of 12 free throws as Tampa Prep routed Tampa Catholic 66-45.
10 -- straight wins by Jefferson girls basketball
13 -- game losing streak by Dunedin, snapped in win over Calvary Christian thanks to 19 from Deaundre Goins and 16 from Mike Kostacky.
22-2 -- Margin Jesuit outscored Berkeley Prep in the third quarter in a 58-41 win.
2,481 -- recruiting stories in the Times the past week (or does it just feel like that?)
Colleges I think are getting steals today on National Signing Day, in order of their luckiness:
1. Toledo: Bernard Reedy
2. Furman: Hank McCloud
3. Youngstown State: Ali Cheaib
4. Holy Cross: Scott O'Donoghue