LARGO — Tatiana Perez's lone goal could have been described as a popup, a blooper or even a pitching wedge chip to the green, but one thing was certain: she planned it all the way.
With eight minutes remaining in the first half Thursday, Perez finally found a way to get a ball past Largo goalkeeper Fontana Cogino. The lone goal was the difference as East Lake advanced to the region semifinals with a 1-0 victory.
"I thought, 'This is my chance one-on-one with the goalie,' " Perez said. "When I saw her coming at me, she was too close so I figured if I hit it over her she wouldn't get it."
The shot was just a tap over Cogino's head, but the placement was perfect and it bounced in. East Lake smacked 24 other shots toward the Largo net and none went in. Twelve were saved by Cogino; the rest went high or wide.
"Their goalie played excellent," Perez said. "She had really good saves."
Despite the win, the Eagles (15-5-1) left the field with looks of frustration on their faces. In defeat, Largo (6-7-3) was proud of its effort.
"Our defense has come so far — it's amazing," Cogino said. "East Lake came in here like it was nothing. They were going to tear us down and shut us out.
"Everyone always says Largo is the (worst) team, and we wanted to show them different."
These teams met once in November. The Eagles won that game 6-0.