SEMINOLE — Palm Harbor University coach Alex Delgado bought a new green shirt for his team's region final Friday night, but turns out the shirt will never see a St. Patrick's Day.
Ever since the Hurricanes' playoff run began, Delgado has worn the opponent's team colors. After each team is eliminated, the shirt is retired. After a 1-0 victory over Seminole to reach the state final four, Delgado said his new shirt would never be worn again.
"The guys tell me that's the last time I can wear the shirt because we're ending a season," he said. "It started with Tarpon, Leto it was red and Jesuit was royal blue."
The reason for the shirt's retirement was a breakaway goal 17 minutes into the second half. Hurricanes midfielder Andrew Smith had the ball and made a touch pass to midfielder Ben Sweat, who took the ball and ran. After dribbling for about 20 yards, and having a defender on him the entire route, Sweat shot and caught the far corner for the only goal of the game.
"I knew the defense was coming at me and I knew Ben was open," Smith said.
"Ben was unbelievable," Delgado said. "He is very explosive. As soon as he touched the ball I knew he was gone."
"I knew I was by everyone," Sweat said. "All I was thinking about was the goal."
Max Gallin picked up the shutout in net and PHU (22-4-4) is headed back to the state tournament after back-to-back victories on the road. The Hurricanes face Coconut Creek Monarch on Feb. 20 at the University of Tampa. Seminole finishes 17-9-3.