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)

PHU takes out a giant

TAMPA — Minutes turned to seconds on the Pepin Stadium clock, and the Palm Harbor University spectators began counting down toward the Hurricanes' fourth girls soccer state championship and second in four years under coach John Planamenta.


Hurricane players stood guard in front of PHU goalkeeper Christina Brewer. Hearing the fans, they raised their arms in celebration with the realization their 3-1 lead would hold up as the final score.

Thirteen minutes earlier, the game remained in doubt. But tied at 1 and momentum on undefeated George Jenkins' side having scored the last goal, PHU freshman Paige Lombard held off a defender on her right hip while dribbling toward the left edge of the goal.

Passing up a decent scoring opportunity, Lombard centered the ball to a wide-open Anja Decker streaking to the goal mouth. George Jenkins goalkeeper Caitlyn Currie got her hand on the pass, but Decker scored anyway to put the Hurricanes back in front 2-1.

Decker was inserted into the game for the first time two minutes earlier.

"I was freaking out. I was just thinking on the bench I just want to go in even for five minutes and try and put one in," Decker said.

Moments later, PHU midfielder Heather Mariscal was fouled in the box by Currie after outracing the keeper to a ball. Currie was given a red card, and junior forward Catherine Brinkman crossed up backup goalie Karlin Aloisio for her 34th goal of the season, second of the game and, more importantly, a 3-1 lead with 8:59 to go.

"It's amazing. I don't think I could have dreamt for something like this to happen," Brinkman said. "It's incredible."


After an uneventful opening 20 minutes, PHU (22-2) began to assert itself. The Hurricanes pushed the ball deep into Eagles territory and Lombard ripped a shot off a throw-in. The rebound came to Brinkman on the edge of the box, and her one touch volley to the left corner gave the Hurricanes a lead with 12:10 left in the first half against a George Jenkins (26-1-1) team not used to playing from behind.

"To get the first goal, it means everything," Brinkman said. "It puts so much pressure on a team."

The goal, though, sounded more like an alarm clock to the Eagles. They controlled the rest of the first half, and four minutes after halftime, Christine Knudstrup muscled a rebound through a scrum of defenders to tie the score 1-1. That play was set up by a foul on the edge of the box. Kayla Bala's free kick was punched off the crossbar by Brewer (three saves) but back in harm's way.


Friday, Planamenta won his 200th career high school game with the victory over Satellite.

"It was a hard-fought game on both sides," Planamenta said in the glow of win No. 201. "But this ranks right up there for sure because it was a tough road to get here.


Palm Harbor University3
George Jenkins1

PHU takes out a giant 02/14/09 [Last modified: Sunday, February 15, 2009 12:10am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. After offseason of work hard, play hard, DeSean Jackson ready to produce for Bucs


    TAMPA — There's no telling what DeSean Jackson will do once he gets a football in his hands. Perhaps that's why a camera crew followed his every move Wednesday while the Bucs' new $30 million receiver stood on a step of the hot tub that empties into a spacious, azure pool at his new, sprawling five-bedroom home in …

    DeSean Jackson jokes around with girlfriend Kayla Phillips at their Tampa home as a crew from HBO’s Hard Knocks documents their day.
  2. Rays journal: Jake Odorizzi goes on 10-day DL with back strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jake Odorizzi is hoping his struggles this season can be tied directly to the lower-back strain he has tried to pitch through since spring training. Toward that end, the Rays placed Odorizzi on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday retroactive to Tuesday.

    Rays center fielder Mallex Smith smiles after hitting a single advancing runners in the third inning. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Playoff chase heats up for Rays with key series at Yankees up first (w/ video)

    The Heater


    It was important that Evan Longoria crushed a two-run homer in the sixth inning Wednesday and Steven Souza Jr. blasted a solo shot off the farthest catwalk an inning later.

    Adeiny Hechavarria (11) and Tim Beckham (1) celebrate the double play to end the top of the sixth inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Thursday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

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

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Saturday, July 22, 2017.
  5. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    It is going to get interesting tonight when the Rays begin a four-game series against the Yankees in New York. The Rays feel they are good enough to win the East Division. These next four games and the four that follow in Houston will be a good measuring stick.