ST. PETERSBURG — Clearwater Central Catholic did not expect Wednesday’s match against Berkeley Prep to go the way it did.
Neither did the Buccaneers.
For the Marauders, who have 15 returning juniors and seniors, including Florida-bound Lindsey Cooper, this was the season they would exact revenge on a team that has owned them over the years. The Marauders lost three times to the Bucs last season, including a 4-1 second-round region loss, and entered Wednesday as the 38th-ranked team in the nation in the ESPN Rise Fab 50.
The Bucs have just been trying to find themselves after losing nine players to graduation.
So after a hard-fought 0-0 tie, the Marauders (11-0-1, 3-0-1) were perplexed at the result just as much as the Buccaneers (8-6-1, 3-0-1) as Berkeley Prep secured homefield for the 3A-10 district playoffs. The Marauders outshot the Buccaneers 13-10, and both teams had several chances to score.
“They surprised me the way they came to play,” Marauders coach Frank Seidl said. “We have to play with intensity from the start. We have to learn to play to our roles. We were stagnant at the beginning and we picked up the effort in the second half, but we have to be like that always.”
Bucs goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin, who started for the Under-20 Women’s U.S. National Team in the World Cup last summer, was a difference maker as the North Carolina-bound junior made one spectacular play after another before severely injuring her right ankle midway through the second half.
On the play, Jennifer Marzi made a cross from the left side near the penalty box and Kelly Shanahan raced in to shoot only to have Heaberlin make a timely slide to boot the ball away for her sixth and final save.
“We’re definitely happy with our effort,” said Buccaneers sophomore forward Brooke Banning, who had two shots sail barely wide in the second half. “We got a sense of confidence early on when we almost scored in the first five minutes. They have such a good team that this result can do wonders for us.”