TAMPA — It took longer than it would have liked but Plant was able to put away pesky Alonso on Wednesday in the semifinals of the Class 6A, District 8 tournament.
After 80 minutes of regular-season play and two overtime sessions, Plant was able to convert on four penalty kicks to Alonso's three — handing the Panthers a victory after a 1-1 draw. Plant will face Bloomingdale in the title game Friday.
Bloomingdale upended host Wharton 2-1 in the other semifinal. The Bulls got a goal in each half from Tevin Gage as part of an aggressive offense that narrowly missed on several other shots.
By the time Wharton got its offense on track and got a goal from Alex Stickley late in the second half, it proved too late.
In the opening game, after a dominant first half that included a Quinn Ebright goal, Plant quickly saw its 1-0 lead evaporate. Alonso's Michael Ciluffo netted a penalty kick five minutes into the second half to knot the game.
Both teams watched scoring chances come and go for the rest of the game. That didn't change in overtime as both squads had chances thwarted by good goalkeeping.
The Panthers finally broke through during the penalty kicks, when junior midfielder Hayden Griewe converted to give Plant a 4-3 penalty kick edge and the win.
"We should have put them away earlier," Griewe said. "It wasn't our best game. But I knew exactly where I was going with my (penalty) kick."