Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Cotey: There's no down time for PHU girls soccer

Palm Harbor University’s Ellycia Colon, left, says she’s not nervous but excited by the chance to play for another state title.


Palm Harbor University’s Ellycia Colon, left, says she’s not nervous but excited by the chance to play for another state title.

PALM HARBOR — On the eve of playing in another state semifinal, Palm Harbor University girls soccer coach John Planamenta is trying to explain his program's success, a crazy 117-9-2 record and five final four appearances in six seasons.

Then you hear it.

Clank. Clank. Clankclankclank.

The peacefulness of a perfectly placid afternoon is broken by the sound of sneaker meeting aluminum bleacher.

Planamenta looks over and smiles as Ellycia Colon, head down and well after practice has ended, runs up and down the stadium bleachers.

You want your explanation? Well, you're looking at it.

Clank. Clank. Clankclankclank.

Friday at Pepin Stadium in Tampa, PHU will be bidding to win a fourth state championship and a trophy to sit next to the ones from 1999, 2000 and 2006.

Seminole coach Steve Kuplicki thinks this might be Planamenta's best team. Catherine Brinkman and Queli Ornelas have emerged as a potent 1-2 postseason punch up front, freshman Paige Lombard is a rising star, and the defensive backfield of Colon, Shannon Walisch, Cina Salemi and keeper Christina Brewer is stone.

As usual, it will take a perfect game to get past the toughest team in Class 5A, which this year is Satellite Beach Satellite.

Other years, when Satellite doesn't beat them in the region final, it is St. Thomas Aquinas.

"But it's always one of those two,'' says Planamenta.

It's fair to lump PHU in with them, for now, though the Hurricanes could laminate that soccer dynasty membership card with another title.

Since 2004, when redistricting put them all in the same class, the trio of schools have accounted for four of the five state championships.

Combined, they are 60-12 in the postseason, and 10 of those 12 losses have come against each other.

PHU is 1-3 against the other two in the state semifinals, beating Aquinas for its 2006 title but being outscored 8-0 in the losses.

"It's always a tough road,'' Planamenta said.

Clank. Clank. Clankclankclankclank.

This is why Colon runs. Because she wants to.

Because she needs to.

Because she now has her assignment: stopping Satellite Beach standout Tishia Jewell, who has 43 goals this season.

"I haven't been able to sleep for two days waiting to find out who I'd be marking,'' Colon said. "I'll probably have a little trouble getting to sleep tonight thinking about it now.''

Colon may be the best Planamenta has had in that crucial role of stopper, and he always has a good one.

She is fast, furious, feisty.

"Physical,'' she adds, "very physical.''

This, she says, makes up for anything she gives up in footwork and skill. She is still honing those skills.

She isn't really worried about Jewell. She has, after all, covered East Lake's Leah Fisher five times this season, and Fisher runs like the wind.

Still, she is excited. She has played a little against Jewell in club ball, but knows she will have only a few seconds to gauge her adversary Friday.

That's all you get.

"All it takes is one move that you're not ready for, and you give up that one goal, and in soccer one goal is huge,'' Colon says. "I'm not really nervous. But I am excited.''

Jewell will get her touches. She'll run all night, looking for an opening, a pass, a moment.

And Colon will run right with her.

She's already started.

Clank. Clank. Clankclankclank.

John C. Cotey can be reached at

Today's state soccer tournament games

All games at Pepin Stadium, University of Tampa. Admission is $8 per session.

Class 4A: Gulf Breeze vs. Ponte Vedra, noon

Class 4A: Cypress Lake vs. Cardinal Gibbons, 2:15

Class 2A: final, 5

Class 6A: final, 7:30

Full schedule, 8C


State soccer tournament

All games at Pepin Stadium, University of Tampa. Admission is $8 per session.

Wednesday's results

Class 2A:

St. John's Country Day 4, King's Academy 0

Class 2A:

Delray Beach American Heritage 1, Tampa Prep 1 (American Heritage wins 4-2 in PK)

Class 6A:

Melbourne 3, Oviedo 2

Class 6A:

Douglas 2, Miami Springs 0

Today's games

Class 4A: Gulf Breeze

vs. Ponte Vedra, noon

Class 4A: Cypress Lake vs. Cardinal Gibbons, 2:15

Class 2A: final, 5

Class 6A: final, 7:30

Friday's games

Class 3A: Bolles vs. Trinity Catholic, 2:15

Class 3A: St. Andrew's vs. Plantation American Heritage, noon

Class 5A: Fleming Island vs. George Jenkins, 5

Class 5A: PHU vs. Satellite, 7:15

Saturday's games

Class 5A: final, 5

Class 4A: final, 2:30

Class 3A: final, noon

On the Web

If you can't make Friday's PHU game, we've got you covered. We'll blog the game live — and if you've got a question, chime on in — at

Cotey: There's no down time for PHU girls soccer 02/11/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 10:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. DeSean Jackson's 'Ferrari engine' brings him to first Bucs camp


    TAMPA — When the Bucs signed Pro Bowl WR DeSean Jackson, in the offseason, QB Jameis Winston said his new target was "a Bentley with a Ferrari engine," a nod to Jackson's 5-foot-10 frame but elite speed.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson sits for an interview while on camera with NFL Films.   HBO's NFL Films production of "Hard Knocks" documented a day in the life of Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson with his family at their home in Tampa on Wednesday, July 26, 2017.
  2. What you should know about new Rays slugger Lucas Duda


    The MLB trade deadline is a few days away, but the Rays aren't procrastinating. Earlier today, they swung a deal for the Mets' Lucas Duda, sending minor league right-hander Drew Smith

    Slugger Lucas Duda will add some (more) power to the Rays lineup.
  3. Rays add a bat, too, acquiring Lucas Duda from Mets


    The Rays made another big move today, acquiring 1B/DH Lucas Duda from the Mets.

    Duda, 31, is a lefty slugger who will take over as the Rays primary DH against right-handers, with Corey Dickerson now playing most of the time in the outfield.

    To get Duda, the Rays gave up minor-league RHP Drew Smith, …

    The Rays acquired 1B/DH Lucas Duda from the Mets.
  4. Bucs do their best to stiff-arm the expectations


    TAMPA — If you want to see a team giving the Heisman trophy stiff-arm to expectations, check out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    As always, the key to the Bucs success will be Jameis Winston. He still is only 23, but a charismatic leader that this team and this town believes deeply in. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. A trip down memory lane of Bucs' preseason expectations


    With HBO's Hard Knocks in town and the Bucs opening training camp Friday with their highest expectations in a decade, here's a look back at Tampa Bay's preseason expectations since their last playoff appearance in 2007 — and the results.


    Jameis Winston and running back Peyton Barber celebrate a touchdown last season against the 49ers. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]