TAMPA — Freedom (11-2-3) was not able to repeat its shootout heroics from a week ago as Naples Gulf Coast (14-3-3) nailed four of its five penalty shots to win 1-0.
The game was a defensive struggle that featured nearly five hours of soccer and three different playing fields. Scoreless through regulation and overtime the teams only managed nine combined shots with five of them coming in overtime.
Stephanie Rodriguez sealed the victory for the Sharks. She was the fifth shooter and rifled a perfectly shot ball in the bottom right corner, past the diving effort of Freedom goalkeeper Emily Ball. Rodriguez was the fourth consecutive shooter to score for the Sharks.
Although only facing five shots through regulation and overtime Gulf Coast keeper Kaeta Choquette stepped up when it mattered most, denying two penalty kicks.
Freedom High School was the scheduled host site for the regional matchup, but the teams were forced move to the University of South Florida soccer field due to power outages at Freedom.
Regulation was decided at USF before a circuit breaker blew, which led to an hourlong delay before the decision was made to move the teams, once again. Wharton was the third and final site for the game.