Wolves need hat trick from Gonzalez for win
LITHIA — Newsome won its first region semifinal in thrilling fashion, rallying from a two-goal deficit for a 4-3 double-overtime victory over Class 5A rival Plant City.
Steven Gonzalez had a hat trick for the second straight game, his 21st goal ending a hard-fought contest. The Wolves, who edged the Raiders 2-1 in a district final, needed nearly 94 minutes Tuesday.
"The heart these guys have, they just don't give up," Newsome coach Neal Rickmers said. "That was just the best victory we've had."
Newsome pulled within 3-2 on Gonzalez's second goal, a blast high into the net off a pass from Skylar Wilks in the 63rd minute. Harold Gussman tied it when his shot from the right side took a high bounce over Plant City goalkeeper Christopher Sullivan.
Newsome (17-4-3) had the best chance to score in the first overtime, but after Carlos Galeano deked Sullivan to the ground and took a shot at on empty net, sweeper Wayne Roberts kicked the ball away on the goal line.
Then came Gonzalez's heroics, his winner coming off an Armani Alicea head pass in the box.
"At 3-1, we thought we'd hold them off at that point," Plant City coach Stephen Rossiter said. "They didn't back off at all."
Plant City (18-3-2) snapped a 1-1 tie on two second-half goals by Esgar Montelongo. The first was a header off a free kick by Kendall Aguilar and Montelongo's team-leading 27th goal was set up by a through ball from Dragan Jovanski.
Steve Lee, Times correspondent