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)

District soccer:

PALM HARBOR — For 20 minutes, Palm Harbor University was on its heels, trying to find a way to slow down East Lake's aggressive attack.

There was no score in the bitter rivalry, but the Hurricanes knew they needed a goal from their sometimes stagnant offense to slow down the momentum.

Alexis Mouton provided it.

The senior forward scored midway through the first half to give PHU the lead. Mouton didn't stop, adding two more goals to lift the Hurricanes to a 3-0 win in the Class 5A, District 7 semifinals.

PHU (13-0-5) will host Plant (13-3-1), which beat Steinbrenner 3-2, in tonight's final at 7.

"That first goal was so important because it took the pressure of us," Mouton said. "East Lake was very dominant early on, and that goal solidified things for us. It helped slow everything down and let us know we can win."

The Hurricanes defense has been solid, allowing six goals all season. But PHU had trouble finishing on offense, and the lack of scoring led to five ties, a big reason it fell to the No. 3 seed in the tournament and was forced to play the Eagles in the semifinals.

East Lake had the better results lately, knocking off PHU in the region semifinals the past two seasons. Thursday's game had even more at stake because it came in the district semifinals, the loser missing out on the state playoffs.

Mouton helped change things in the rivalry thanks to her offensive outburst. She has become a bona fide scoring threat in the district tournament, scoring three goals in the Hurricanes' 4-1 win over Alonso in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

"We've had some issues finishing," PHU coach John Planamenta said. "It's something I talked about with the team and with Alexis before the tournament started.

"And we needed against East Lake because they outplayed us for most of the game."

4A-10: Osceola, Seminole advance

Seminole and Osceola reached the title game with 3-1 victories against Clearwater and Northeast, respectively.

Host Osceola benefitted from a Northeast own-goal in the first two minutes then held on.

Osceola beat Northeast 4-0 in the regular season. When junior Alison Watkins played the first cross of the game into a Viking defender for an own-goal, it looked like a blowout was brewing.

However, the Vikings stiffened thanks in great part to senior Mikera Williams.

Watkins' goal in the sixth minute off an assist from Samantha Pifer made it 2-0.

The two-goal lead held until the second half, when Northeast senior Courtney Fink collided with Osceola's Jessica Brown in goal. Fink was awarded the penalty kick, which she buried.

With 20 minutes left to play, the Vikings got on a fastbreak. Brown charged out to shut it down, but the ball ricocheted off her and was played at the empty net.

Only a last-second swoop-in from Gabby Holcombe cleared the ball away to safety. The final two minutes decided the game.

"It was so scary. We dropped everyone back. They moved everyone up," Watkins said. "I heard someone call for it (the ball), and I just blocked it and went."

Alison took the ball outside and outraced the rest of the field to tap the ball into the empty net with just seconds remaining.

"I think that's the longest run of my life to goal," Watkins said.

At Seminole, the Warhawks turned it on after a slow start to beat Clearwater.

"We were a little sluggish early on," Seminole coach Gary Kolb said. "We became more aggressive and dictated the tempo in the second half."

Seminole had goals from Leah Rapuano, Sarah Reinhold and Brandy Maulucci.

Gabrielle John, a freshman who leads the Warhawks with 21 goals this season, sat out Thursday's game because she needed to be cleared by doctors after suffering concussion-like symptoms in last week's Pinellas County Athletic Conference championship game against St. Petersburg, Kolb said.

John is expected to be cleared to play in tonight's final.

Times correspondent Andy Warrener contributed to this report.

District soccer: 01/17/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 17, 2014 12:36am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up


    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Rays journal: Alex Cobb brilliant, Alex Colome worrying in 10-inning victory (w/video)

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — RHP Alex Cobb couldn't have been much better for the Rays on Tuesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning while working eight solid. And Alex Colome couldn't have been much worse, blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb carries a no-hitter into the seventh and pitches eight shutout innings in his best outing of the season.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb continues to look better and better, which could make the decision whether to trade him tougher. Cobb had a no-hitter through six and threw his biggest pitch with a 1-0 lead in the seventh, getting Josh Bell to roll into a double play.

  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park, Pittsburgh

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)