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Plant seizes opportunities

King (19 shots) and Plant (17) had a lot of scoring chances in a Class 5A, District 8 semifinal Tuesday. The difference was Plant converted twice as many chances for a 6-3 win.

The Panthers (8-6-1) face Hillsborough (17-0) in Thursday's final. The Terriers remained unbeaten with a 5-1 win over East Bay.

Junior striker Casey Munch scored a hat trick and Petra Fraser added two goals as the Panthers used their speed to beat the Lions' offside trap.

"Petra's the fastest player on the field, and she's been a key player for us for three years," Plant coach Dan Whitis said. "She's just now learning her full potential."

Rebecca Hough scored first for the Panthers on a penalty kick in the 20th minute. King (7-6-1) had several opportunities to tie it, but Plant goalie Riley Dickey pounced on shots by Candace Brady and Summer McPhillips.

McPhillips slipped a free kick past defenders to tie it in the 35th minute. Plant regained the lead when Munch lobbed a shot over keeper KeeKee Huffman, who came out to clear a ball.

Munch scored again two minutes into the second half off a throughball from Lauren Bridges, and Fraser scored on a breakaway in the 58th minute to make it 4-1.

King pulled within 4-3 on a goal by Jessica Stone in the 63rd minute and another from Alexa Salimbene in the 67th. But Fraser's breakaway and finish in the 68th stopped the rally. Munche added a late goal.

In the other game, East Bay (3-10-2) kept it close in the first half against the favored Terriers, but Hillsborough shut the door quickly with three goals within five minutes in the second.

Laura Scaglione scored on an unassisted goal in the third minute and made it 2-0 on a penalty kick in the 15th.

The Indians fought back, and Casey Smith connected on penalty kick in the 30th to keep it close.

In the second half Hillsborough strikers kept finding themselves unmarked at the top of the box. In quick succession Jess Anzevino (45th minute), Natalie Burgess (47th) and Sara Belsole (50th) connected on open shots to slam the door on the upstart Indians.

"The girls all know that in the playoffs, everyone brings their best game," Terriers coach Ron Fedeles said. "We knew (East Bay) would play hard, and we would have to step up."