CLEARWATER — Countryside possesses skill that is so tantalizing to Dave Sica that it often wears on the Cougars' 11th-year coach.
Despite Countryside's 3-0 win over St. Petersburg in the Pinellas County Athletic Conference championship on Saturday, Sica sees substantial room for improvement in the team ranked 33rd in the most recent ESPN Rise Fab 50 national poll.
"We have to be even better at sharing the ball," Sica said. "When we decide to move the ball quicker, and pass and move, we have the capability of being a pretty good team. We did it at times tonight, and then there were other moments when we became very selfish and tried to be too creative."
Countryside took the lead in the first 15 minutes. Zack Shriver threaded the ball from the middle to Nikolai Hammer, who easily carried it into the penalty box and flicked the ball with the outside of his right foot past Robby Liebel.
The Cougars (19-1-1) were less impressive for the rest of the half.
"We have a great team all around, but we still have plenty of work to do to get better," said Hunter Maricle, who had four saves in recording his seventh shutout of the season.
The Cougars, who outshot the Green Devils 12-7, went up 2-0 in the first three minutes of the second half. Shriver received a pass near the top of the penalty box and one-timed a pass to the left to Hammer, who let the ball go through his legs to Jagger Martinez. Martinez lifted the ball over Liebel's head into the corner.
Less than a minute later, after Maricle cleared the ball quickly to midfield, Hammer raced up the middle and found Derya Ekren in the middle of the penalty box where he slid the ball in.