Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

5A region soccer: Gaither 1, Naples Gulf Coast 0, 2 OT

TAMPA — Kelly Cuppett's nickname is "PK."

"It's kind of my thing," she said. "My claim to fame."

The Gaither junior lived up to her billing Tuesday, converting the winning penalty kick late in the second overtime to give the Cowboys a 1-0 sudden-death win over Naples Gulf Coast.

The district runnerup Cowboys (12-5-2) advanced to their first region final since 2005.

Cuppett's winning shot came just seconds before Gaither's postseason fate would have been decided by a shootout. But just before 100 minutes of scoreless soccer was complete, a foul was called in the penalty box, awarding Gaither a PK.

Cuppett aimed to her right, just inside the near post, and her shot went just past the arms of Sharks keeper Kaeta Choquette, prompting an emphatic celebration inside the goal box.

"Honestly, if you get it far enough in the corner, it doesn't matter," said Cuppett, who would have been Gaither's first shooter had the game gone to a shootout.

Gaither couldn't muster the same quick-strike offense from set pieces that netted it a 2-1 upset win at Venice in the region quarterfinal, and neither team could drum up much offense in their respective attacking ends in the first half.

Gaither dodged a scare early in the second half, when Cowboys keeper Amanda High needed to dive to save an own goal in the box in the 43rd minute.

The Sharks had their share of close calls in the second half on failed Gaither set pieces.

Cowboys senior Lauren Moore then missed a free kick from 25 yards out just wide of the near post in the 49th minute.

Kaycee Mcguire's free kick from 35 yards out hit the top crossbar and bounced away harmlessly. Choquette then jumped out and made a punch save on a corner kick deflection and Taylor Meek's shot hit off the far post.

"We knew we were going to get a goal," Meek said. "We had the chances. We had the shots."

5A region soccer: Gaither 1, Naples Gulf Coast 0, 2 OT 02/01/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 12:05am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …

  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi had to battle without his best stuff again, which is becoming a more common occurrence, leading to long at-bats — including 13 pitches to Kennys Vargas in the fifth — and running up his pitch count to 118 without finishing the sixth.

  3. Roberto Aguayo faces stiff test to keep Bucs' placekicker job


    TAMPA — The wind is never going to be at Roberto Aguayo's back when he lines up for a field goal or extra point this offseason in his quest to remain the Bucs' kicker.

    Roberto Aguayo, coming off a rookie season in which he had an NFL-worst 71 percent field-goal accuracy, made only 1 of 4 Tuesday on the narrow goalposts at One Buc Place as he begins his battle to keep his job.
  4. Rays at Twins, 2:10 p.m. Sunday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Today: at Twins

    2:10, Target Field, Minneapolis

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 760-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Wing Jonathan Drouin could be the only piece that Tampa Bay has to acquire a badly needed top-tier defenseman.