Palm Harbor U. holds Satellite Beach Satellite scoreless for a half, then the Scorpions regroup for a 2-0 victory.
By LAURA LEE
Published February 19, 2004
FORT LAUDERDALE- Palm Harbor University winced.
Just for a moment, the Hurricanes braced themselves for the unexpected at the start of Wednesday's Class 5A state semifinal against two-time defending state champion Satellite Beach Satellite in Lockhart Stadium.
And when their nerves relaxed, they realized it was not that bad. The Hurricanes played with the Scorpions touch for touch during the first half.
The second half, however, was a different story. Satellite (28-0-1) found an advantage, scoring twice in the second period to advance to today's state final against Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas. Junior forward Brittney Marriott scored both goals for the Scorpions.
"I'm very, very proud of the girls," PHU coach John Planamenta said. "We came in as a huge underdog and held the No.1 team in the nation to a good game. To end this way doesn't do it justice."
After winning 21 consecutive games, PHU's season ended on its first and only loss.
"I didn't think we played our best game at all," said senior midfielder Arielle Orr, who thought the team lacked intensity. "It's too bad we didn't bring it tonight."
PHU (21-1-0) played the Scorpions to a scoreless halftime. Though the Hurricanes were timid at the beginning, they stuck with their game, patiently passing the ball upfield, trying to break through a strong Satellite defense. The play was so even, the ball was tied up at midfield several times.
The Scorpions had a chance to score in the first period when PHU's Chelsea Brinkman tackled a Satellite player in the penalty box in the 36th minute.
Marriott, Satellite's leading scorer with 45 goals, took the penalty kick low to the right and Hurricanes goalie Jahana Azarian laid out for the finger-tip save.
"It lifted our spirits a little bit," Planamenta said.
Marriott got her first goal in the 48th minute when Azarian came well out of the penalty box to contest her. Marriott made a sharp cut to beat Azarian and sent a hard 25-yarder from the right side.
In response, the Hurricanes started to pressure more on offense. They moved more players in position to score and got a few shots on goal. But PHU was vulnerable in the back and the Scorpions got clearer chances on goals.
"We started stepping up a bit and they found the holes," Planamenta said. "That's what happens when you're trying to score goals. It was the only thing we could do."
Satellite broke through a second time in the 71st minute. Marriott slipped through the PHU defense to meet a pass from Kelsey Kramer and scored from 15 yards out. Late in the game, the Hurricanes were running out of time.
"It's not too disappointing," Orr said. "We did make it to the final four."