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The game between Nature Coast and Hernando is called early after raucous onfield behavior. Hernando advances to the final against Pasco.
By JOHN SCHWARB
Published January 27, 2005
BROOKSVILLE - Between the goaltender ripping off her jersey in disgust, a teammate kicking a garbage can on the sideline, the coach needing an escort from the field after his ejection and several fans hurling epithets at officials after the damage was done, Nature Coast's meltdown was thorough Wednesday night.
Rival Hernando advanced to the Class 3A, District 6 final with a 2-1 win, but the play was forgettable in an evening where the behavior was anything but.
The game was physical from the start, with the teams being allowed to jostle for position and create opportunities. Each team scored in the first 15 minutes, but minor flareups began between referee Peter George and Sharks coach Phil Bennett. Nature Coast's Angie Magid also received a yellow card for behavior.
A controversial call just before halftime further stoked the fire. Nature Coast goalkeeper Amanda Stellpflug was issued a red card after diving into a Hernando attacker on a breakaway. Incensed, Stellpflug tore off her jersey and threw it to the pitch as the Sharks bench and stands voiced displeasure.
One minute into the second half, Magid got her second yellow card for language and made a theatrical exit that included the kicked garbage can. Bennett, seeking an explanation, called George "a disgrace" during the conversation and was ejected. He took his time leaving the stadium.
In the 45th minute, Hernando's Danielle Coopman scored what would be the winning goal on a direct kick just outside the box. Two minutes later the game was called as Nature Coast's Jaleesa Scott, clearly frustrated, got into a verbal dispute with George.
"She was taking cheap shots on (Hernando) every time, I said "What are you giving up for? That's not sportsmanlike,' " said George, a 24-year veteran official. "And I had another two girls swearing at me, okay?"
George declared the game over, spurring more ugliness. Several Nature Coast fans came onto the track to protest. Bennett, having returned to the field to usher his team out, declined comment.
"That coach lost that game for them," Hernando coach William O'Lynnger said. "It's a high school sport, this is a teaching sport. It's not Division I."
In a tame-by-comparison first semifinal, Pasco beat Bushnell South Sumter 5-0 behind two goals from Jami Pass and Cassandra Hill. Pasco plays Hernando on Friday night for the district title.