PALM HARBOR — Palm Harbor University's hopes of defending the Class 6A title came to an end Friday night, as the Hurricanes lost to Vero Beach 1-0.
The game featured creative scoring chances as well as stellar goalkeeping by both teams.
In the 22nd minute, PHU's Kelly Phipps sent a cross pass to Alexis Mouton, but Vero's Destiny Kelley was quickly in place for the save.
Moments later, Vero's Kate Hardwick centered a shot that was blocked and saved by PHU's Rachel Taylor. The pace persisted with neither team showing signs of fatigue.
PHU outshot Vero 13-8, but Kelley was up to the challenge.
"There were a couple (of shots) that had me a little scared," said Kelley, who had eight saves on the night. "But championships are won with great goalkeeping and that's what we had tonight."
At the 48th-minute mark, PHU's Katie Im got loose on a breakaway, blasting a shot that bounced off Kelley's hands and clanked against the crossbar, but Vero quickly cleared the ball.
"It was a great game going both ways," PHU coach John Planamenta said. "We had some great scoring opportunities that we couldn't finish on."
With two minutes left in the game, Vero's Sarah Keville bent a corner kick directly to Hailey Bertin who headed the ball in the back of the net for the winning goal.
"I'm extremely proud of my girls," said Vero Beach coach Jose Gibert. "We've battled all year. It was just a great way to end (the game)."