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SPRING HILL — Springstead, a favorite to be one of the best teams in the area, kicked off its season against rival Nature Coast on Tuesday night.
Both teams were heated but sloppy at times as the Eagles defeated the Sharks 2-1.
“We didn’t play the way we’ve been practicing,” Springstead coach Polo Furlong said, “but a win is a win, that’s what it’s all about.”
Springstead struck first to start the game with an aggressive offense. The Eagles had the momentum for most of the match but were unable to convert goals. They outshot the Sharks 17-8 but only Tara Vasquez, last season’s leading scorer, was able to drill in goals for the home team.
Nature Coast keeper Jeri Loffler (six saves) did her best to maintain the narrow lead, but in the end the Sharks could not tie the score as the second half wound down.
“The last 15 minutes of the game were nerve-racking,” Vasquez said. “I wanted to make sure I started this season off good because this is our rival team.”
The lone score for the Sharks came from junior midfielder Mallorie Pickersgill with just less than 20 minutes remaining in the first half.
After that, the best defense for Springstead was its offense. The possession of ball was so lopsided that Nature Coast was not able to get many good looks at the net.