CCC can't dethrown Plantation American Heritage, which claims its third title in a row with a 2-1 victory.
By RODNEY PAGE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 24, 2002
TAMPA -- Clearwater Central Catholic isn't used to being the underdog, but against senior-laden Plantation American Heritage, the Marauders had to play mistake-free to win.
Unfortunately for CCC, there were a few mistakes.
Two defensive lapses, one in each half, cost the Marauders a championship as the Patriots won 2-1 on a cold, rainy Saturday at Ed Radice Sports Complex.
American Heritage (28-1) captured its third consecutive title. Clearwater Central Catholic (24-3-2) won a championship in 1999, the last time a team other than the Patriots won. "This game was like a symbol of our season," CCC senior defender Nicole Matuska said. "We battled this game just like we've battled every game. Sometimes the ball doesn't go where you want it to."
Like in the back of the net.
The Marauders were held to five shots and had few scoring chances. American Heritage took 17 shots and spent plenty of time harassing goalkeeper Jasmine Johnson.
The Patriots finally cashed in at the 30-minute mark, when Elanna Brady fed Ashley Darcy 20 yards from the goal. Darcy had a clear path and blasted a shot from 10 yards into the right side.
CCC came back with a goal less than a minute later. Jessica Hallgren, who had to be carried off the field after spraining her ankle in the final minutes, fired a perfect cross to Samantha Robinson a few yards from the goal. Robinson redirected the pass to make it 1-1.
"That was a quick transition. We caught them sleeping a little bit," Marauders coach Tom Typrowicz said. "That was our adjustment at halftime, to try to get more down the wings and over the top and use our speed. But we couldn't get the ball out there enough."
The decisive goal came in the 51st minute, when Darcy sent a ball into the goal box. Johnson tried to catch the ball, but it bounced free and Holly Ryder was there for a shot from five yards.