Sunday, May 20, 2018
Sports

District soccer: Land O'Lakes wastes little time taking control

ZEPHYRHILLS —Looks like Land O'Lakes take messages to heart.

Exhorted to get an early jump on rival Sunlake, the Gators could not have carried through that charge any better. Samantha Epifanio scored 52 seconds in and Land O'Lakes controlled the action for a 4-0 win Friday. The 3A-8 district championship is the third title in a row for the Gators and ninth overall.

Catherine Gray broke in down the left sideline to slide a cross to Epifanio, a freshman whose speed harassed Sunlake's defense much of the night.

"Well, we said to score early. Luckily we did because you never know if they're going to get nervous, maybe feel the pressure of districts," said Gators coach Vicky King.

Turned out she had nothing to fear. Land O'Lakes (23-1) outshot the Seahawks 25-3. The three meetings between the schools have gotten progressively less competitive this season.

"When you lose your best player (Cassidy Place) to graduation and two of your other best get hurt (Emily Higgins, Cassidy Kallenborn), it makes it tough," said Sunlake coach Jami Finan. "Those freshmen out there tonight played extremely hard."

Place went the early-graduation route to Saint Leo but was on the sideline serving as an assistant. Sunlake's top remaining player, Carly Hill, sat out the first 25 minutes with a hyperextended knee suffered Monday. She gave it a go but was clearly not at full speed.

In addition freshman defender Maddisen Traver was sick She tried to play after a rough halftime but Finan pulled her immediately.

The only thing slowing the top-seeded Gators was Sunlake freshman goalie Landon Carter. She made nine saves in the second half alone, and twice got help from teammates Traver and Emma Hanyok (another freshman) clearing shots off the line.

One of Carter's better saves came in the 32nd minute on a rocket shot by Victoria Cannata, but on the resulting corner kick Lacy Nasello banged home a header for 2-0. Nasello has been the defensive leader since joining the team in December after a dislocated knee.

"I think that (time off) has given her more energy. She gives us a little spark out there," King said.

Cannata put quality shots on goal all night before solving Carter in the 65th minute on a breakaway. Lindsay Pearl's rebound goal capped scoring.

Sunlake (16-4-3) still makes the playoffs and was somewhat surprised to learn its opponent would be Nature Coast, after the Sharks upset top-seeded Hudson in 3A-7. That sets up Land O'Lakes to host Hudson.

Comments
Softball: Scouting the Academy at the Lakes vs. Lake Worth Christian semifinal

Softball: Scouting the Academy at the Lakes vs. Lake Worth Christian semifinal

Academy at the Lakes (24-4) vs. Lake Worth Christian (10-3)Where: 11:50 a.m. Monday at Historic Dodgertown, Vero BeachHow they got thereAcademy at the Lakes defeated Seacrest Country Day 11-1, defeated Canterbury 5-1Lake Worth Christian defeated...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Playing .500 ball is obviously no goal, and the Rays certainly know that.But given where they came from, that terrible 1-8 start that oozed into 3-12 and 4-13, climbing back to the respectability of .500 would be an accomplish...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The first part of the Rays' new and unusual pitching plan worked so well Saturday, as game "opener" RHP Sergio Romo struck out the first three Angels hitters, that the Rays will do it again on Sunday.That's right. Romo will st...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

TAMPA — A two-goal lead was suddenly only one, and the Washington Capitals, having pulled their goalie, had a furious 96-second siege.Andrei Vasilevskiy made the last three of his 28 saves to preserve the Lightning's 3-2 victory Saturday in Gam...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

TAMPA — Dan Girardi knew where the puck was heading. It was heading to Alex Ovechkin for a one-timer on net, so Girardi did the only thing he could do. He blocked it.With his rump."It hit me right in the cheek," said Girardi, the Lightning defe...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory in Game 5

Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory in Game 5

TAMPA — Faster than Justify down the stretch at the Preakness, quicker than Harry and Meghan walked down the aisle at Windsor Castle, the Lightning jumped on Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final. No runaway gallop. No funny hats. Just ho...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Ryan Callahan and his linemates overwhelmed the Caps

Lightning-Capitals: How Ryan Callahan and his linemates overwhelmed the Caps

TAMPA — They're called grinders. Pluggers. Checkers.They're lunch-pail guys. Like 9-to-5ers. They get up every day and go to work. They punch in and punch out for no glory or credit. But the business would fall apart without them.They're the fo...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Justify wins foggy Preakness, keeps Triple Crown bid alive

Justify wins foggy Preakness, keeps Triple Crown bid alive

BALTIMORE — Justify rounded the final turn and hit the top of the stretch winded but with the lead. The roar from the crowd was delayed, hushed by the thick fog that enveloped the track. When Justify emerged from the haze in view of the grandstand, t...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Quick strike, but not the quickest ever

Lightning-Capitals: Quick strike, but not the quickest ever

TAMPA — Cedric Paquette needed only 19 seconds to put the Lightning on the scoreboard Saturday night, coming up with the second-fastest playoff goal in franchise history.The only goal faster? Tampa Bay's Adam Hall needed only 13 seconds to scor...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Rowdies tie in debut of new coach Neill Collins

St. PETERSBURG — Neill Collins, the former Rowdies defender who this week abruptly replaced Stuart Campbell as coach of the team, was a bit ambivalent about his debut, but he sure liked the way his club played in the second half of Saturda...
Updated: 11 hours ago