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PHU gets past St. Petersburg

CLASS 3A: Hurricanes take advantage as Green Devils show up late and start the game flat.

By Times staff

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 14, 2003


PALM HARBOR -- It's hard to complain when you've just won a region quarterfinal.

At least you're still alive and one step closer to the state final. But the Hurricanes knew they could have done better. Palm Harbor University dominated St. Petersburg, and the 2-0 score doesn't tell the half of it.

The Hurricanes could easily have had a seven-goal lead over the Green Devils, but couldn't capitalize on several chances, including an empty St. Petersburg goal on three separate occasions.

"I know for myself I missed opportunities in the first and second half," said Palm Harbor senior James Erigo. "We just need to concentrate more and finish more."

The Hurricanes were able to take advantage of a cold Green Devils team early. St. Petersburg (13-6-2) arrived about 15 minutes before the game because the bus driver took a wrong turn, going all the way to Tampa. Erigo got a score in the second minute, playing the rebound off a header in front of a crowded goal.

"We came out dead," St. Petersburg assistant coach Grant Hall said about the delaying detour. "We came out way flat and conceded two bad goals."

Palm Harbor (22-1-2) got its second goal almost 20 minutes into the game, when Greg Hartney followed the ball after St. Petersburg goalie Alex Bowers slid out of the box for a play, leaving the goal open for Hartney's shot.

Palm Harbor will play Plant on Tuesday, in the region semifinals.

-- LAURA LEE

3A: Warhawks win 3-0 to pay back Cougars

SEMINOLE -- Last year in the quarterfinals, Countryside ousted Seminole 3-0. Thursday, on the same field, the Warhawks had their revenge by an identical 3-0 score behind sophomore forward Richard Legg's two goals.

With 17:50 left in the first half, Joe Brown raced down the right side of the field as far as he could, then shot the ball across the middle at the last second as a charging Legg headed it into the net.

Legg's other goal was his own doing, getting a steal deep in the Cougars end and, while keeping his cool, working the ball to the net, where he blasted a shot past goalkeeper Brian Linn.

Seminole's final score came from Matt Hice, who sent a header into the net off a corner kick by Forrest Reid.

Seminole coach Rick Masi saw the need for to control the pace going into the semifinals.

"We left too much money on the table in the first half," he said. "Besides, a 2-0 lead is the most dangerous in soccer at halftime. Our boys thought they could just protect the lead, but Countryside never quit hustling right up to the end."

The Warhawks host Durant on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

-- STEVE FOLEY

2A: Osceola loses to Lake Gibson in shootout

LAKELAND -- Lake Gibson knows the value of penalty kicks; the Braves don't like them very much, but they practice them every day.

The Braves opened defense of their state championship by defeating Osceola 3-2 in a shootout.

With his team ahead 3-2 on penalty kicks, junior midfielder Adam Leigh stepped up for his team's fifth and final try. He drilled the ball past Osceola goalkeeper Rickie Bose to seal the win.

Lake Gibson (13-7-1) will play in the regional semifinals Tuesday against Lehigh Acres.

The Warriors took a 1-0 lead 26 minutes into the match at Virgil Ramage Stadium when Adam Cocanegra scored on a cross from Jason Vallalba.

Senior midfielder Luis Castro took a pass from Leigh with 11:14 left in the first half and drilled a left-footed kick to tie it at 1.

The Braves grabbed a lead just five minutes before the half. But Osceola (12-7-0) tied it in the 62nd minute on a free kick by Thomas Schreck from just outside the box.

A: Northside has tough night against Bishop Verot

FORT MYERS -- Northside Christian accomplished a lot by making the playoffs, but learned the hard way what quality postseason play is like in an 8-0 loss to Fort Myers Bishop Verot.

Steven Shea had four goals and Ryan Swaim added three assists for Bishop Verot (21-3-2), which led the Mustangs (4-14-2) 4-0 at halftime. The match was called by mercy rule at the 73rd minute.

Kyle Hooper, Chris Horn, Logan Swaim and Peter Zell also scored for the Vikings.

"We didn't expect what Bishop Verot brought," Northside Christian coach Chris Shank said. "Obviously, they're a talented team, but we didn't know they were that talented."

Mustangs goalkeeper Brett Hawkins made 18 saves to keep the game from finishing earlier. He also came away impressed with the Vikings.

Verot had a 57-5 edge in shots on goal.

-- CRAIG HANDEL

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