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ST. PETERSBURG — Last season Clearwater Central Catholic, a team with state title aspirations, lost in a district semifinal to St. Petersburg Catholic in a game that left the Marauders grappling with disbelief. It also was a game that propelled the Barons to their first state championship game appearance.
So it was understandable CCC could not wait until Thursday when the rivals met for the first time since the district tournament.
And in stunning fashion the Marauders exacted revenge, scoring three goals within the first 10 minutes to cruise to a 3-1 victory.
“I thought we kind of caught them off guard with the formation we were in and got a jump real early in the game,” CCC coach Tom Typrowicz said.
Kaitlin Parker started the scoring for the Marauders (6-3-2) on a breakaway goal in which she fired a shot from about 20 yards that sailed just below the top post and out of the reach of keeper Maggie Dalessio.
A few minutes later, Nicole Melendy knocked in a shot to make it 2-0. Then Parker added another goal not long after that on a penalty kick.
It was quite a setback for the Barons, who this week beat Berkeley Prep for the first time in more than five seasons.
“We were riding high after that victory and I think left our game back in Tampa,” St. Petersburg Catholic coach Gary Kolb said. “We just came out flat. CCC is a well-disciplined team and they put it on us right away.”
The early barrage of goals was hard to take for a Barons team that used defense to make its run to the state final last season. But this is a considerably younger defense that starts as many as four freshmen.
“We might have been a little overwhelmed at the beginning,” Kolb said. “But we played even the rest of the way. I think we even outplayed them from that point.”
The Barons (4-3-2) had their chances. They dictated the pace on offense and had several scoring opportunities. But shots went wide or were deflected at the last minute.
SPC scored in the last two minutes of regulation on a goal by Brooke Coughlin.
“We were winning balls and then giving them back,” Typrowicz said. “We were just flat worn out for a while. We caught our second wind and played better in the second half. But give SPC credit. They have a good team and it will be a battle all season.”