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Surreality in Seffner: Crusader has 7-goal night

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Wed. January 27, 2010 | Joey Knight | Email

Seffner Christian boys soccer coach Mark Canterbury awoke Wednesday morning to the realization that what he had witnessed hours before in Lakeland was no dream. And certainly no fluke.

In a Class 2A, District 8 tournament semifinal, against a Santa Fe Catholic team that had defeated the Crusaders twice before, Canterbury watched rangy senior Steven Cunningham explode for a school-record seven goals in an 8-3 upset. Four of them came in a 10-minute span in the second half.

And the eighth goal? Cunningham had the assist on a throw-in.

"Unbelievable," Canterbury said. "I've never seen anything like that. Here's what's even more amazing: At times you may seven-goal or eight-goal a team, but this was a quality team, and they had already beaten us twice earlier in the season."

Cunningham, who also plays basketball and drained 10 3-pointers in a December game, scored his first goal in the 25th minute after Santa Fe -- the No. 2 seed -- had built a 2-0 lead. After the Crimson Hawks scored again, he responded with a half-volley from outside the 18 on the left corner.

"Then," Canterbury said, "it just becomes unbelievable, like a movie-type setting."

Cunningham tied the score in the 45th minute, then drilled a 25-yard shot from the top of the penalty box that skimmed the crossbar five minutes later. He scored on a breakaway two minutes after that and added his sixth goal on a penalty kick in the 55th minute.

His final goal, in the 70th minute, also skimmed the crossbar.

And yes, the seven goals are a school record.

"You can't explain it," said Canterbury, whose third-seeded team (16-5) faces top-seeded Lakeland Christian for the district title Friday at 7. "You really can't."

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