TAMPA — The opening kick was called for 6:30 p.m., and if you were on time, you missed the winning goal.
That's how quickly Tampa Prep jumped on visiting Mitchell in a 3-0 victory Wednesday night beneath Tampa's skyline. The game actually started early, likely because of low 40-degree temperatures, according to the scoreboard. Some fans cradled cups of piping hot chocolate to keep their hands — and bellies — warm.
The Terrapins were fiery on offense, peppering goalkeeper Sandra Jozic with plenty of good scoring chances. Forward Colby Maffei made the difference with her 26th and 27th goals of the season. Her first one came on a through ball from Amber Miller.
"The best part was the build-up with that goal," coach Cindy Schofield said. "We knocked it around in the back, and Amber found Colby.
"We had been doing a lot of that in training. The first goal was a result of that."
Tampa Prep (11-3-4) made it 2-0 in the second half after a corner kick was knocked in by Alyssa Bryant. Maffei made it 3-0 just before the water break.
"We had a rough Sarasota tournament, so we had to get back on track," Schofield said. "We had to get our swagger back. It showed tonight. It was very good. They played well."
Mitchell coach Karl Kukec dismissed the loss, which snapped a four-game win streak dating to a 3-2 loss to Hudson on Dec. 8, as nothing more than rust from a week off from action. It also marked the first game without center midfielder Shelby Wright, who graduated early to attend Nova Southeastern.
Tonight, the Mustangs (13-2-1) get right back at it with a game at Tampa Catholic.
"They controlled, for the most part, the midfield," Kukec said. "That was crucial for us getting nothing done on top. Our strikers were separated from everyone else. It's tough to do something if the midfield doesn't work."
Izzy Gould can be reached at igould @tampabay.com or (813) 421-3886.