TAMPA — You wouldn't know it by the final score, but for 71 minutes of Tuesday night's Class 3A second-round match Berkeley Prep was in a fight for its life against Clearwater Central Catholic.
One sequence of plays changed everything.
First, the Buccaneers got a stop. Then Taylor Batye, after winning a battle for the ball, made a perfect pass to Sam Newhaller, who slid a shot under the opposing keeper's outstretched arms to give Berkeley Prep a two-goal advantage.
A short while later, the Bucs celebrated a 4-1 victory.
Newhaller's goal "put it away," Berkeley Prep coach Ken Roberts said. "Taylor really started it by beating two or three players for the ball."
Berkeley Prep (19-4-2) plays at Fort Myers Bishop Verot on Friday.
"We just didn't have our game tonight," a disappointed CCC coach Tom Typrowicz said. "They played better than we did."
Nonetheless, CCC (13-6-5) was extremely difficult to put away.
Amber Famiglietti got Berkeley Prep on the board with a goal in the 10th minute, but the Marauders answered a short time later when Kaitlin Parker sent a left-footed kick past diving Berkeley Prep keeper Morgan Orobello.
The teams played to a stalemate until the 44th minute, when Danielle Manning bent a corner kick right into the net to put the Bucs ahead 2-1.
Orobello, playing in place of Bryane Heaberlin, who was at a U-17 national team camp, helped thwart two solid CCC scoring chances later in the half, and was knocked to the ground during a collision on one of the plays.
The match was stopped briefly while Orobello gathered herself, but right after it resumed Batye and Newhaller connected for what would prove to be the knockout punch.
"That goal was so important," Berkeley Prep's Taylor Richardson said. "When we got that goal, we were able to calm down."