ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg Catholic was easily quicker than its opponent Thursday nearly always in the right place at the right time. And even when they weren't scoring, the Barons were certainly controlling the play.
"We probably had our best passing game of the year," Barons coach Gary Kolb said.
For Kolb, the reason for his team's victory was clear: "We put a lot of time and effort into preaching about space and getting into space."
The practice clearly paid off, as St. Petersburg Catholic breezed past Lakeland McKeel (15-7-3) 4-0 to advance to the Class 3A region semifinals.
The Barons got on the scoreboard in the game's 13th minute when freshman Erin Hillman chipped in a shot from up close.
Olivia Wilkinson, a senior, added to the lead with a swift, arcing shot that sailed past diving Wildcats goalie Natalie Oestreich.
St. Petersburg Catholic (10-11-0) continued its impressive display of speed and teamwork in the second half. In the 10th minute, senior Sarah Trumbull headed a corner kick into the net to put the Barons up 3-0.
Sophomore Michelle McNally accounted for the game's final margin with a late goal.
The Barons seemed to get better as the game went on, racking up 10 shots on goal in the second half. Their dominance limited the number of shots faced by senior goalkeeper Maggie Dalessio, who made an outstanding save early on as she laid herself out to reject the Wildcats' first shot on goal.