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Gators among final four

CLASS 2A: In its third straight try, Land O'Lakes advances state semifinals for first time.

By STEVE LEE, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 22, 2003

LAND O'LAKES -- Stacy Bishop, the county's all-time leading scorer and a Louisiana State University recruit, is not ready to close out her high school career.

The Land O'Lakes senior scored two goals in Friday's region final, leading the Gators to a 4-1 win over Daytona Beach Seabreeze.

Bishop's second goal, a header off Elsa Kurlychek's corner kick in the 52nd minute, was her school-record 53rd, surpassing by one the mark she set last season.

"She's really picked it up in the last week," Land O'Lakes coach Vicky King said of Bishop, who has four goals in two games this week and 190 in her career.

"She's going off to school, but she's played with some of these kids since middle school. She wants to keep playing."

In their third consecutive try, the Gators advanced to their first state tournament, which begins Thursday at Tampa's Ed Radice Sports Complex. Land O'Lakes is the county's first girls team to reach states.

"At least they can say, 'We did it,"' King said.

"This is not just this year. This is for every year we've been in the playoffs."

Land O'Lakes goalkeeper Shannon Aitken made 13 saves, including a stop on Lindsay Brauer's breakaway in the first half.

Brauer, who entered the game with 46 goals, was marked by freshman speedster Aleisha Peterson. Although Brauer foiled Aitken's shutout bid with her 47th goal in the 77th minute, King lauded Peterson's effort.

"She did a great job," King said. "She had no fouls tonight and she was so proud of herself. The key was to shut down (Brauer) and she did it."

Land O'Lakes built an insurmountable 3-0 halftime lead with Tara Eugenides getting the scoring started in the eighth minute. The sweeper cheated up on Grace Weatherford's corner kick and drilled a 15-yard shot through the hands of Seabreeze keeper Katie Walter.

Bishop scored on a free kick in the 27th minute and Casie Poyssick, who returned to the lineup after a four-game suspension, closed out the scoring in the first half with a kick into the right corner of the net.

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