ST. PETERSBURG — For 25 minutes, a young Keswick Christian squad proved to be all Shorecrest could handle. But Jenn Casey put any upset concerns to rest with a four-goal explosion in the final 15 minutes of the first half to lift the Chargers to an 8-1 victory Tuesday in the Class 2A, District 10 semifinals.
Casey scored five goals in the first half with her first coming in the early minutes to give Shorecrest a 1-0 lead. But the Crusaders (4-15-2) rallied to tie behind a beautiful shot from Catherine Dunn from about 25 yards.
From there the Crusaders held on as long as they could thanks to some intense play on the defensive side of the ball, but Casey and the rest of the Chargers would not be held down.
"Definitely credit them for coming out and playing hard," Shorecrest coach Neal Wolfrath said. "I think we took this match for granted and we were very sluggish for the first half."
The Chargers (11-5-1) will take on Indian Rocks Christian in Thursday's district championship. The Golden Eagles (12-6) defeated Northside Christian 5-0 behind a hat trick from Jensen Eifert.
Eifert scored all three goals within a six-minute span between the first and second half. Hannah Davis added two goals for the Golden Eagles, who could have scored more if not for an impressive performance from the Keswick goalkeeper.
Wolfrath expects a much closer game Thursday and a better start from his team.
"I'm hopeful we were able to learn a lesson with this game," he said. "We're going to have to raise our intensity from this point on."