PALM HARBOR — No Leah Fisher, no problem for East Lake.
The Eagles' star forward was on crutches wearing street clothes Monday during their opening game of the Hurricane Watch tournament against Countryside. East Lake had enough firepower from Tatiana Perez and Alicia Nalley to record a 4-2 victory.
Fisher, a Notre Dame commitment, strained her knee playing in a club tournament in Raleigh, N.C., over the weekend and won't see the field again until Friday for the tournament's final round at the earliest.
"If it continues to be painful for her, she's going to have an MRI (exam)," East Lake coach John Orr said.
Perez took over as the Eagles' primary scoring threat. The junior dribbled around a defender and slid a shot past goalie Kim Cohn (three saves) six minutes in to give East Lake (6-2) a 1-0 lead, a score that would stand through the first half.
Perez broke a 1-all tie in the second half after receiving a feed in the box from Avery Fox and beating the keeper one-on-one. She earned a hat trick with 14 minutes left after one-timing Alicia Nalley's perfectly placed crossing pass.
Countryside (4-4-1) equalized after the halftime break when Alyssa Rosati fought off a defender into the box to beat East Lake goalie Alicia Aldridge (six saves).
The Cougars had plenty of scoring chances but couldn't finish enough of them. After Perez's goal made it 2-1, Nalley twisted and turned past two defenders to score East Lake's third goal three minutes later.
"At halftime I told the girls, 'Hey, you're outplaying them,' " Countryside coach Rob Saltz said. "But we had a really bad spell for about five minutes where they scored a couple in a row."
Countryside's Thea Linkfield cut East Lake's lead to 3-2 before Perez put the game away with her third goal.
Palm Harbor U. 3, St. Petersburg 0: Catherine Brinkman scored two goals and assisted on another to lift defending champion Palm Harbor University over St. Petersburg. Brinkman scored her first goal off a rebound. Three minutes later, Ashlin Cook sent a pass into the box that Brinkman finished to give the Hurricanes (10-0) a 2-0 halftime lead. Paige Lombard added a goal for PHU with 21 minutes remaining. St. Petersburg (5-2-1) managed just three shots.