Durant coach Dick Scheffield had already gone to console Kellie Evans. The all-state midfielder was conceding that this would be her last high school game. The Cougars were down 2-1 to Gaither in the fifth round of a penalty kick shootout in Wednesday's Class 4A, District 7 semifinals.
But suddenly, the tide turned. Durant's Jena Sofran calmly stepped up and tied it with her shot, and goalie Jackie Hinton stopped an attempt by Gaither's Jessica Kmiotek.
Scheffield's consolation turned into a pep talk. "I told (Evans), "Look up. It's only the beginning,' " he said.
In the eighth round of kicks, Melissa Lehmann converted her shot and Hinton tipped a ball by Erin Flynn off the crossbar to give the Cougars a 2-1 victory and another chance to beat Bloomingdale.
The Bulls (22-0-2, ranked No. 4 in Class 4A) remained undefeated with a convincing 5-0 win over East Lake in the other semifinal.
Durant (17-2-2) scored in the 38th minute when Melissa Diamond took a cross from Molly Bowers, raced to the corner of the box, and put a hard shot on frame that trickled in past keeper Michelle Kmiotek.
The game went back and forth until Gaither freshman Kasey Kubly became the unlikely hero, knocking in a deflected shot off a long throw-in from Tally Payne in the 78th minute.
With 20 seconds remaining in the fourth overtime, Evans got open in the box. She turned and sent in a low line drive, but Kmiotek dove to stop it. The ball trickled toward the goal line, but Kmiotek was able to grab it just before it went in.
"(Kmiotek) was just awesome in overtime," Scheffield said. "She had about four saves that were unbelievable. What it boils down to is you were probably seeing the two best goalies in the county tonight, and they're both just sophomores."
Bloomingdale converted four times on breakaways, beating the Eagles' offsides trap each time. Kim Martins and freshman Heather Williams both notched a pair of goals for the Bulls.
3A-10: Chiefs, Panthers win in semis
TAMPA _ After playing Tampa Bay Tech twice in the regular season and registering a blowout win and a narrow victory in those contests, Chamberlain had to know Tech was an improved team.
The Chiefs just didn't figure on a double-overtime thriller that would take a 40-yard goal from Dana Hemke to win 3-2 to advance to the final.
Chamberlain improved to 16-2 and set up Friday's final against Plant, which beat Brandon 2-1 in sudden death.
Although Chamberlain was able to control the ball throughout most of the extra time, Tampa Bay Tech was quicker to the ball and the aggressor early.
Tech (8-8-2) opened the scoring with 16:38 remaining in the opening half when Erin Dafeldecker's corner kick trickled past three Chiefs and ricocheted into the goal.
"They (Tech) are one of the most improved teams in this area," Chamberlain coach Robert Warren said.
After netting a goal just before halftime that tied the score, Diana Hemke struck again when Tech keeper Melanie Barker mishandled a save and put the ball back on the ground. Quick to the ball, Diana put it away to give the top-seeded Chiefs a 2-1 lead.
But the Titans struck back with 13:25 left when Dafeldecker launched a shot from 20 yards that sailed over Chiefs' keeper Jackie Raffa's head and into the goal, setting up the overtime periods.
In the other semifinal, Plant and Brandon matched each other goal for goal to head to overtime tied at 1 before a free kick from Sasha Barnes in sudden death slipped into goal to secure the Panthers' win.
_ ROD GIPSON
A-8: TC, Berkeley advance
TAMPA _ After semifinal victories on Wednesday, Berkeley Prep and Tampa Catholic will find themselves on familiar turf in the final at 6 p.m. Friday. Both programs have won the district championship twice in the last four years and the Crusaders are the reigning champion.
Tampa Catholic (11-3-2) disposed of Seminole Presbyterian 5-0 in the first match. Chrissy Cuppet notched two first-half goals to pace the Crusaders and Martel Warhola, Stephanie Sharpe and Lauren Goetzman each chipped in a goal.
The host Bucs had a tougher road to the championship game. Academy of Holy Names forced their contest to overtime after Christina Criolla tied the game score 8:23 left in regulation. But Berkeley Prep scored twice in overtime to win 3-1.
Alexi Riofrio scored the go-ahead goal in the first overtime. She weaved through two Jaguar defenders and scored from inside the 6-yard box.
_ PATRICK DOWLING
3A-12: East Bay stuns Southeast
At Sarasota, East Bay used a late goal to pull off the biggest upset of its season, defeating Bradenton Southeast 3-2 in the semifinals and ensuring itself of a post-season appearance.
East Bay takes on Sarasota, which defeated Port Charlotte 8-0 in the other semifinal, Friday for the championship.
The Indians (8-7-2) took control of the game in the 76th minute when Alyse Migliaro knocked a pass from Lindsey Moffenbier off the inside of the goal post and into the net for the winning goal.
_ SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
2A-11: Riverview eliminated
Riverview was eliminated 3-0 by Bradenton Bayshore in the district semifinals. The Sharks lost a chance to play in Friday's final against Englewood Lemon Bay.
_ SPECIAL TO THE TIMES