Friday, May 25, 2018
Sports

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.

Comments
FSU football fans: How do you remember Jimbo Fisher?

FSU football fans: How do you remember Jimbo Fisher?

Former Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher should be back in the state next week for the SEC's spring meetings in Destin. It is, to my knowledge, his first big trip back to Florida since leaving for Texas A&M in December.With that in mind, my questi...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Alex Cobb excited about return ďhomeĒ to Trop even in Orioles orange

Alex Cobb excited about return ďhomeĒ to Trop even in Orioles orange

RHP Alex Cobb has already pitched twice against his former Rays mates in Baltimore and said it didn't feel that weird, especially since there were so many new faces in the lineup.But coming back to the Trop, where he made his big-league debut and spe...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Willy Adames goes back to AAA, leaving Rays with ďa lot to be excited aboutí

Willy Adames goes back to AAA, leaving Rays with ďa lot to be excited aboutí

Willy Adames' first stint in the major leagues ended as planned Thursday night when he was optioned back to Triple-A Durham at the end of his planned three-game cameo filling in for new father Joey Wendle.Adames said going back down was "tough" even ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Steve Yzermanís summer plans: Make the Lightning better

Steve Yzermanís summer plans: Make the Lightning better

TAMPA — Captain Steven Stamkos said the Lightning's window for contending for a Stanley Cup championship is not closing."I think it's wide open," he said one day after the Lightning lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final to the Capitals.Ge...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Indianapolis 500: How Danica Patrick changed racing

Indianapolis 500: How Danica Patrick changed racing

Tampa's Carlie Yent was at a racing banquet a few years ago when someone asked her to name the driver who influenced her the most.The answer was easy and obvious: Danica Patrick."She was someone I could look up to," Yent said, "and she was the most i...
Updated: 6 hours ago
After Danica Patrick, why arenít there more women in auto racing?

After Danica Patrick, why arenít there more women in auto racing?

If you assumed Danica Patrick's success would lead to a tidal wave of female drivers into racing's top series, you're not alone."I kind of thought the Danica thing would bring out a lot of people, honestly," said Tampa's Megan Rae Meyer, a 21-year-ol...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Calvary Christianís record win streak ends in state final

Calvary Christianís record win streak ends in state final

FORT MYERS — One of the most impressive streaks in high school baseball came to an end early Friday morning.Calvary Christian lost the Class 4A state championship 5-1 to Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian at Hammond Stadium in a game that ended ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — Having lost two straight and nine of 12 times overall to the Red Sox, the Rays needed two things to go right Thursday:First, a strong start from Blake Snell.Second, some early runs against Rick Porcello from an offense that had...
Published: 05/24/18
Marc Topkinís takeaways from Thursdayís Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkinís takeaways from Thursdayís Rays-Red Sox game

Home cooking clearly agrees with OF Denard Span. The 34-year-old Tampa product continues to deliver, producing at the plate, running the bases, making diving catches in the outfield, and Thursday, even going over the short sidewall twice in hot pursu...
Published: 05/24/18
Bucsí Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy Ďa little bit oddí

Bucsí Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy Ďa little bit oddí

TAMPA — This much is clear: The National Football League is focused on getting rid of kneeling players.That was the league's announcement Wednesday in requiring players to stand during the national anthem before games or possibly have their tea...
Published: 05/24/18