PALM HARBOR — There was a stretch in Plant's region semifinal Tuesday at Palm Harbor University where the Panthers hit their stride.
Plant possessed the ball and moved it side to side.
The Panthers' passes were crisp and on target.
They attacked with purpose.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, their invigorated play came about 60 minutes too late in a 2-0 loss to the Hurricanes.
"Had we played the whole game like the last 20 minutes then I would have liked to have seen what would have happened," Plant coach Steve McGill said.
The Hurricanes (20-0-1) grabbed momentum from the outset and wouldn't let Plant (21-2-1) into the game until it was too late.
The Panthers had minimal possession in the first half, and the few times they were able to threaten PHU's goal, the Hurricanes' stalwart defense was there to clear.
Plant didn't register a shot before halftime.
"The first half was just not our game," McGill said.
PHU scored in the 19th minute after Anja Decker threaded a through ball to Kelly Phipps in the box. Phipps was pulled down by a Plant defender, and PHU's Catherine Brinkman sent her penalty shot straight down the middle for the first score.
Ten minutes into the second half, Brinkman notched her second goal, heading in a well-struck, 40-yard free kick from Zoe Lombard for a 2-0 lead.
"Their second goal," McGill said, "was gorgeous. It was a beautiful ball. No one's going to save that."