TAMPA — From a high vantage point, the pockmarks of brown dirt and puddles of standing water on Freedom's field were glaring Tuesday night, but the Venice Indians often looked like they were playing on sleek FieldTurf.
On a surface ripe for sloshing, the Indians (16-5-3) instead made a splash, collecting more than a dozen shots on goal and getting a hat trick from senior Tina Trujic in a 5-1 triumph against Freedom (13-4-4).
"The best team we've faced all season for sure," Patriots coach Chris Hinkle said of the Indians. "From every point of the field, a very quality team. Great shape. Obviously every opportunity they had at the net they finished. Great finishers."
The water appeared to come into play in the fourth minute. Trujic got a body check on Freedom freshman Ali Diioia, sending her slipping into a puddle and clearing the way for Trujic's 20-yard shot that sailed over the head of Patriots keeper Emily Ball into the back of the net.
"Both teams had to play on (the field)," Hinkle said. "It was the last worry that I had."
Nine minutes later, Trujic lofted a shot from the right corner of the penalty box over Ball's outstretched hands to make it 2-0. She would add her final goal in the 58th minute to give Venice a 4-0 lead.
Freedom averted the shutout on Olivia Bloemke's 20-yard blast from the box's right corner to the opposite post with roughly 61/2 minutes to play.