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Springstead barrage aids in clinching GCAC title

Her first two shots found the back of the net but were voided each time. Offsides.

Finally, with three minutes remaining, Lacey Chimienti fired again from the left side _ legally _ and scored, writing a perfect end to a game and regular season for Springstead.

The Eagles downed Nature Coast 8-0 on Thursday, clinching their first Gulf Coast Athletic Conference title. Springstead's usual stars handled the bulk of the scoring, then the senior defender ended the game via mercy rule with her first goal of the season.

"What a shock," Chimienti said.

Nothing else was shocking in the romp.

Springstead (14-2-4 overall, 8-1-3 GCAC) entered on a seven-game unbeaten streak that included an 8-0 win over the Sharks on Dec. 19. In that span, forwards Megan Allen and Angela Passafaro shredded the nets, with 11 of their combined 42 goals coming just in Springstead's last two victories.

Against Nature Coast (4-16, 1-11) on Thursday, the pair put away five more goals in 29 minutes.

Ashley Johns and Shannon Strat started the scoring early with a corner kick and 35-yard free kick that Sharks goalkeeper Amber Collard got her hands on but could not pull in.

With 11 minutes left in the half, Allen, a senior, pushed the lead to 3-0 with a deft finish off a Passafaro pass. The two combined on the first goal of the second half in the 42nd minute when Allen headed in a Passafaro assist.

Passafaro, a freshman, then notched the Eagles' next two goals and Allen got her third in the 58th minute off another Passafaro dish.

Chimienti later completed the scoring.

"It's just nice to let these seniors go out with a little bit of class," coach Randy Strat said.

"You can look at Angela, who's our (star) freshman and all that," he said, "but without the seniors playing the way they are, the rest of the team just wouldn't be the same."