APOPKA — Palm Harbor University is in the hunt for its second straight state title, this time in 6A, beating Apopka 2-1 in double overtime Saturday at Roger Williams Field.
A long free kick from PHU's Catherine Brinkman was saved initially by Apopka goalkeeper Shanel Bodden, but Zoe Lombard dislodged the ball from Bodden to score the winning goal with one minute, 59 seconds left in the second overtime of the Class 6A region final.
PHU will play Miami Lourdes in a state semifinal Friday in Tampa.
"It was just a great job by them to get that last shot on goal," Apopka coach Doug Matthews said. "We were extremely tired, and I thought we were so close to getting to penalty kicks."
After a scoreless first half, the Blue Darters struck first when Lindsey Rice headed in a long pass from Selena Jaimes on a free kick with 34:08 left in the second half. The goal was the first allowed by PHU (21-0-1), which won the Class 5A title last year, in the playoffs.
Brinkman's free kick from 35 yards sailed just over Bodden's outstretched hands to score the equalizer for the Hurricanes with 13:51 left in the second. Apopka (21-5-2) had played back on defense to try to prevent the goal.
"It's a really tough call," PHU coach John Planamenta said when on whether Apopka had slumped back too soon. "I was looking at the clock thinking the same thing, for us to push forward. …
"Apopka was able to play us really well. Going to state is definitely something these girls don't take for granted."