CLASS 3A: A huge defensive effort early in the second half enables the Eagles to hang on.
By BRANT JAMES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 14, 2003
LAKELAND -- After winning at George Jenkins in the Class 3A, Region 2 boys soccer quarterfinals last season, Springstead found itself locked out of the locker room Thursday night for the rematch.
Next time, the bus may not be allowed on campus.
Springstead, the District 7 runnerup, weathered a furious push in the first 20 minutes of the second half, then got a goal from Greg Emmerman on a direct kick with 6 minutes, 31 seconds left to upset George Jenkins 1-0.
Entering the game with an 18-1-3 record, George Jenkins players did not pay the Eagles enough respect for the visitors' liking.
"We were all focused anyway," Emmerman said, "but before the game they came out singing, acting like they'd already won the World Cup, and that just made all of us so mad.
"It's not like we're a weak team getting here. We're a good team getting here."
The Eagles (18-4-2) next travel to Satellite Beach, a 4-0 winner over Spruce Creek on Thursday. Tuesday's region semifinal will start at 7:30 p.m.
Emmerman's 20th goal of the season came from just outside the middle of the penalty box, where forward Ryan Greene had been tripped by Zac Elkins while chasing a long pass. After a lengthy strategy session that prompted a defender to screech "today!" Emmerman fired far post through the Jenkins wall and over screened goalkeeper Jason Bradley.
Taller, and more physical, George Jenkins amassed a 12-2 shots advantage over Springstead in the first 20 minutes of the second half, and nearly took a lead with 24:22 left, but goaltender Dan Calabrese slid to his left to save a Jake Howard shot from within 10 yards.
Jenkins also had a first-half score disallowed when one of its players pushed Calabrese into the goal.
Springstead's defensive effort was buttressed by an utterly pestlike performance by Jordan Magrini, who moved from forward to replace a sick teammate and used his speed and ball-handling skills to stifle a Jenkins frontline that had produced more than 40 goals.