Friday, February 23, 2018
Sports

Girls soccer roundup: Plant City lets one slip away

PLANT CITY — After spotting Seminole a first-half goal in Thursday's Class 4A region quarterfinal, Plant City knew a comeback against a battle-tested team wouldn't be easy.

"We tried to hang with them the whole game," Raiders coach Caleb Roberts said, "and we were six minutes short."

The Raiders surrendered two goals in the final four minutes to end their season with a 3-2 loss.

Plant City (18-3) started slowly and couldn't get a good look in the first 30 minutes. The Warhawks (21-3-1) kept pounding the goal and cracked through when Amanda Walker deflected a corner kick into the net in the 33rd minute.

The Raiders eventually converted on their quick-strike chances in the second half. Stephanie Galloway tied the game on a counter in the 61st minute. With six minutes left, Plant City took the lead when Jennifer Ruiz headed in a corner kick.

"It took 60 minutes to get to where we wanted to be," Roberts said.

But it only took six minutes for Seminole to knock them out.

In the 76th minute, seldom-used freshman Teagan Payne headed in a Brianna Froncillo corner kick to tie the game.

Two minutes later, Froncillo rocketed a long free kick that scraped the top of the wall of defenders before settling into the back of the net for the winner.

"I don't know how it managed to get through," Froncillo said.

The win sets up a rematch at rival Osceola in Tuesday's region semifinal and avenges the Warhawks' loss to Plant City in last season's playoffs.

Taylor Michael had 10 saves for the Raiders.

Winter Haven 3, Sickles 1: Leading 1-0, the visiting Gryphons allowed three second-half goals, two in a span of two minutes. Sophie McKenzie scored in the first half for Sickles (10-6-1).

"It was a good game and nothing to be ashamed of because we played our hardest," Sickles coach George Arroyo said. "We tried to get them offside, and we broke down defensively. We played a great game. But unfortunately they were able to pene­trate, and the shots they took, they were able to finish."

Osceola 3, East Bay 0: After a slow start, host Osceola bore down for the victory.

The Indians, in the playoffs for the third straight season, relied on an aggressive defense to limit chances in the first half. But in the final minute, Gabby Holcombe scored what turned out to be the winner.

"We applied pressure, but we weren't finishing our chances," Osceola coach Anatol Popovich said. "East Bay really bunkered down defensively. Still, I figured we were in good shape because we played a controlled game and did open things up in the second half."

Sam Pifer added to the lead midway through the second half with goal into an open net.

"It was a beautiful pass from Cassidy (Reich)," Pifer said. "It was hard at the start of the game, but we were able to settle down. And once we got those first few goals, it gave us the cushion we needed."

Courtney Smith rounded out the scoring with goal off an assist from Pifer.

Class 5A

Newsome 7, Orlando Boone 0: Newsome's Karli Gutsche tried three headers off of corner kicks to no avail, sailing each over the crossbar during the first half of the host Wolves' region quarterfinal against Orlando Boone.

Then the Auburn commit tried another way. Gutsche scored the first of her three goals by kicking in a rebound after goalkeeper Dyana Herrera made a save on Lindsey Eaton's tough-angle shot from the left side. That goal, in the 38th minute, gave host Newsome a 1-0 halftime lead.

"It was definitely tough to get it in the goal for the first half," Gutsche said.

The Wolves' offense came alive in the second half. Gutsche completed her hat trick, and Claire Kartheiser also had three goals. Eaton's goal in the 54th minute started it all. She split two defenders to beat Herrera on the left side for a 2-0 lead.

"We started going outside and making things happen," Newsome coach Kelly Townsend said.

Newsome (19-0) had 23 shots, 13 in the second half, and limited Orlando Boone (17-6-3) to eight.

Gutsche's hat trick included goals after falling in the penalty box and a partial breakaway. It brought her to within two goals of the school record of 22 set by her sister, Karina, a University of Florida player and 2011 Newsome graduate.

Bradenton Manatee 3, Plant 1: The host Hurricanes scored all of their goals in the second half. Sarah Wasser, who hit the crossbar during the first half, made it 1-0 off of a corner kick in the 53rd minute. Michaella Krebser set up Jessica Shafer to make it 2-0 in the 65th and scored to make it 3-0 in the 69th. Abby Sanchez scored for Plant in the 75th.

Times staff writer Bob Putnam and correspondent Steve Lee contributed to this report, which used information from the Lakeland Ledger and Bradenton Herald.

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