SPRING HILL — The two semifinals in the Class 4A, District 8 tournament Wednesday couldn't have been more different. In the end, it resulted in a rematch of last season's championship game between Hudson and Pasco.
In the first semi, Hudson drubbed Gulf 8-0 thanks to a terrific performance from Scott Combs. Combs scored four goals and has 43 on the season to lead Hudson (16-5-3) to their second consecutive region appearance. Gulf (14-3-6) had defeated the Cobras both times during the regular season, making the mercy-rule result all the more surprising.
Pasco will join Hudson in the final thanks to a 2-1 win over would-be Cinderella Sunlake.
Sunlake (10-12-3) struck first, taking a 1-0 lead into the half. Strong goalkeeping by the Seahawks' David Danahy (13 saves) kept the fifth seed in the contest.
The Pirates tied things up when Blain Sanderson kicked the ball toward the Sunlake net, and Danahy got a hand on the ball before allowing it to trickle off his fingers and into the goal.
After two scoreless overtime sessions, the game boiled down to penalty kicks. In a fitting end, the teams continued to match each other kick for kick, going down to sudden-death penalty. Finally in the 13th round, Eric Garcia knocked the ball past Danahy for Pasco (18-2-3) and Pirates keeper Gilbert Tanguma made a final save for the win.
The win sets up a rematch of last season's championship, which Hudson won.
"(Pasco's) going to be playing with a chip on their shoulder after last year," Hudson coach Paul Vescio said. "We'll have to be ready."