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NEW PORT RICHEY - Zephyrhills and Tarpon Springs will face off in Friday's championship after shutting out their opponents Wednesday night.
The Bulldogs defeated Wesley Chapel 4-0, and Tarpon Springs handed Gulf a 3-0 defeat.
The Spongers have played Zephyrhills twice this season, defeating them 4-0 and 3-2.
The first half of the Zephyrhills-Wesley Chapel game was quiet, with the only goal coming from the Bulldogs' Deja Dukes on a breakaway shot with 10 minutes left in the half. Strong defenses from both teams kept the ball moving and the game close.
"My defense was the hardest hit from last year to this year," Zephyrhills coach Janet Heyman said. "We just really concentrate on them working as a team."
The second half saw more defense, though Wesley Chapel gave up a goal to Bulldogs forward Kristen Vollmet. With the defense slipping and time running out for the Wildcats, Zephyrhills broke through with two goals, another from Dukes and the clincher from senior Shannon Mitchell with five minutes left.
The smothering defense limited Wesley Chapel to only four shots compared to Zephyrhills' 12. Heyman said goalkeeper Samantha Smith was a key to the team's success.
"Her job is to settle down the team," she said. "She sees the whole entire field, and makes sure everyone is playing the game.
The Gulf-Tarpon Springs game saw two more stingy teams fight for control of the ball. Strong defenses kept the ball moving, and both teams played hard in the first half.
The Spongers broke through the Buccaneers defense with 12 minutes left in the first half, as Briana Cooney recovered a loose ball from the goalkeeper and scored in the empty net. Two more goals in the second half by Brandi Bianco and Sara Haines sealed it for Tarpon Springs.
"We have 13 new players this year," Tarpon Springs coach John Freiermuth said. "It's been very delightful seeing them blend together as well as they have. But at the same time, we need to still work a lot harder to reach our goal of going back to the final four."
Bianco said that her team was ready for the upcoming championship.
"(Wednesday) was a big game, but I think we're pretty confident for Friday," she said. "If we have our heads in the game and our focus we can pull off the victory.