TAMPA — Brisk winds whipped down the Hillsborough River and a winter chill clutched the campus of Tampa Prep in the foreground of Tampa's skyline.
As overtime loomed Tuesday, Bishop McLaughlin found itself with one more opportunity to end the Class 2A, District 9 semifinal in regulation. Hurricanes midfielder Spencer Valdispino sent a corner kick screaming through penalty area where it found Alex Muscolina, who snapped her head punching the ball through for a 3-2 victory over Cambridge.
"It's something we worked on a lot," Hurricanes coach Tim Gronau said. "… It was kind of like the way you draw it up."
Bishop McLaughlin (10-3-2) had plenty of opportunities, revving its offense and generating a handful of scoring chances.
Cambridge (6-8-4) hung tough and took a 1-0 lead on a goal by midfielder Kristy Brooks, who helped the Lancers look far better than a 6-0 loss to the Hurricanes during the regular season.
"It's a young team," Cambridge coach Will Robertson said. "We only had two seniors. They're a great bunch. What they lack in talent … they fight hard."
Bishop McLaughlin took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Erica Houseman just before halftime. But Cambridge answered once more on a shot by Rachel Stephenson.
The Hurricanes return Friday to play top seed and Class 2A defending state champion Tampa Prep for the district title. The teams met Nov. 18 with an 8-1 Terrapins victory.
"Tampa Prep is a perennial powerhouse," Gronau said. "… You just hope to go in there and play hard, hope you match up with them."