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Region girls soccer: Tampa Prep the lone Hillsborough team standing

Pressure of PKs: Robinson goalkeeper Mackenzie Johnson can’t save a penalty shot by Largo’s Gina Pecora.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Pressure of PKs: Robinson goalkeeper Mackenzie Johnson can’t save a penalty shot by Largo’s Gina Pecora.

TAMPA — For nearly 100 minutes Tuesday night, Tampa Prep peppered the Academy of the Holy Names goal. Shots flew just wide. Other were snared by AHN keeper Kendall Catone. Some even banged off the woodwork.

"It was getting pretty frustrating," Alexa Steele-Weintraub said.

But one clever move erased a night full of near misses as Steele-Weintraub connected on a penalty kick in the second overtime to send Tampa Prep into Friday's 2A region final with a 1-0 win against the visiting Jaguars.

"We had them the entire game," Tampa Prep coach Cindy Schofield said. "We had so many chances."

But the one that will be remembered came in the 96th minute. The Terrapins' (12-8-1) Darla Harrison played a through ball into the box that settled about halfway between Alexandra Daley and Catone. The two seemed destined to meet at the ball, but Daley deftly flicked it on to her right. Catone and Daley collided and a penalty kick was awarded.

"We knew in the back of our minds that we were going to eventually get one," Daley said.

Steele-Weintraub then stepped up to the spot and buried a ball into the right side of the net, touching off a wild celebration inside the AHN (16-3) box.

Catone came up with a number of key saves to keep the match scoreless. She blocked a pair of point-blank shots from Haillie Lower in the first half, then stuffed Abby Bravo on a breakaway in the 57th minute. Daley hit the crossbar in the 78th minute.

"(Catone) played an amazing game tonight," Schofield said. "But there's something about this team right now. Something special."

5A: PKs down Wolves

LITHIA — George Jenkins sophomore defender Katherine Stokes hadn't seen one minute of action during the season, the result of suffering a torn ACL in her right knee during the summer.

With one swing of her damaged appendage, however, Stokes provided the Eagles (9-5-4) with perhaps the greatest contribution of the season.

After playing 100 minutes of scoreless soccer in a Class 5A region semifinal against Newsome, George Jenkins held a 2-1 advantage in penalty kicks entering the fifth and final round. The fate of the Eagles' season riding on her heavily-braced right knee, Stokes calmly lifted a shot past goalkeeper Madison Rowe to send George Jenkins to a 1-0 (3-1 PKs) victory over the Wolves and into the school's seventh straight region final.

Newsome (19-1) had chances aplenty to score in regulation but kept missing the target. Alex Zilberfarb touched a slow roller toward goal that was cleared off the line by an Eagles' defender in the 11th minute. Zilberfarb split two defenders and tracked down a midfield lob pass from Lindsey Eaton in the 50th minute for a one-on-one chance against Eagles goalie Haleigh Mercer (five saves) but missed wide.

With a little more than 10 minutes remaining, Eaton sent an accurate shot toward goal that was blocked away by defender Courtney McElroy after Mercer had been pulled off her line.

"I think we should have wrapped it up in the first half," Newsome coach Kelly Townsend said. "But when you can't score, you can't get it in, you can't win."

Newsome missed its first three penalty shots and went behind 2-0 when Lyndi Elms beat Rowe in Round 4. Karli Gutsche kept Newsome alive by burying her attempt, but Stokes' heroics kept the Wolves from defeating the Eagles a third time this season.

"My kids stepped up and played incredibly well," Townsend said. "…It just didn't go our way."

3A: Knights falter

TAMPA — Seeing Largo's dream season ready to end, coach Dan Flynn needed a couple of extraordinary things to happen.

They did.

Robinson missed potential back-to-back clinching penalty kicks, and Largo nailed its final four attempts — including Hannah Gould's winner in the eighth round — to give the Packers a 2-1 (6-5 PKs) victory Tuesday night in the Class 5A region semifinals.

Largo (15-6-5) advances to its first region final since 1997.

Trailing 3-2 after missing two of its first four penalty kicks, Largo saw Robinson (14-6) hit the right post and send a ball over the crossbar on its next two shots to give the Packers hope. Toni Kamensky's successful kick tied the score at 3 in the fifth round. The match ended when Robinson's Laura Osorio pulled her shot left. Osorio scored for the Knights in regulation.

"I actually took out my scratch pad out (trailing 3-2) and crossed off thinking I was done," Flynn said. "It's always stressful to go to the PK shoot. They're always good when you win them, but it's the worst way to lose a game …and Robinson is an excellent team."

Largo tied the score at 1 with a Robinson own goal in the 73rd minute. Kamensky launched a free kick toward Kennedy Flynn in front of the Knights goal, and Rian Tellis headed the ball past goalie Mackenzie Johnson.

"It's unfortunate (the match) went down that way," Robinson coach Billy Helms said. "We've been going this past three years with this karma curse of can't get past this regional semifinals or quarterfinals. I thought this was the year we could finally break it."

Times correspondents Bryan Burns and Don Jensen contributed to this report.

. Up next

Region final

7 p.m. Friday

2A: Tampa Prep at Fort Myers Bishop Verot

Region girls soccer: Tampa Prep the lone Hillsborough team standing 01/28/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 11:49pm]

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