It wasn't so much that East Lake defeated Palm Harbor University for only the second time in five tries this season - it was the way the Eagles did it.
Behind a stout defense that limited PHU to just two good scoring chances and a couple of opportunistic strikes from Eagles junior forward Leah Fisher, East Lake stunned the Hurricanes 3-0 to advance to the region finals against Seminole.
"That was our biggest victory over Palm Harbor," Fisher said. "We've never beat them that bad before."
Fisher got things rolling early for East Lake (16-5), scoring 19 minutes into the game after receiving a long pass and poking the ball past PHU goalie Monica Lee on a breakaway.
"The way we focused and were ready to go at the beginning of this game, I figured as long as we got the first goal, we'd be okay," East Lake coach Raleigh Daves said.
In the 53rd minute, Fisher pounced on a PHU mistake deep in its own territory and one-timed a shot out of midair past Lee. Tatiana Perez scored with 13 minutes remaining when she split two defenders on a run down the middle of the field and buried the ball into the goal.
"You get experience playing the same team over and over again," Daves said. "We've been in the playoffs now for the third year in a row, so we know what to expect as far as intensity."
East Lake's win comes only eight days after PHU (17-2-2) defeated the Eagles 4-1 in the district final. Both PHU losses this year came against East Lake.