Doing that thing they do
Call it heart, a never-say-die attitude or what have you, but Springstead has that little extra something to get tough wins.
By VINCENT THOMAS
Published January 27, 2006
SPRING HILL - Sal Calabrese has been with Springstead soccer on and off for 13 years.
He has coached talented teams that reached the region finals, some underachievers, some mediocre teams and some squads that didn't fare too well.
But he has never coached a team like this season's Eagles. They're a unique bunch and he can't articulate why.
"I don't know, there's just something about them because they always find a way to win," Calabrese said. "I can't put my finger on it, but they've just got this thing."
That "thing' Calabrese can't explain worked its belated magic Wednesday night in Zephyrhills.
Springstead (16-5-3, 12-2) was down 3-1 to Gulf in the second half and clawed its way back, finally winning 4-3 in the second sudden-death overtime and ensuring a region tournament berth. Michael Lambraia kicked the winner with 1:40 left in the period. Unlike his coach, Lambraia thinks he knows what the team's intangible "thing" is.
"Heart," he said. "We never give up. We always go the extra mile."
Their heart and that "thing," according to Calabrese and Lambraia, help the Eagles win against teams that sometimes are more talented. They'll be facing one of those squads tonight in the Class 4A, District 8 final against Pasco. The Pirates swept the season series, but the Eagles are determined not to lose to them three times in one season.
"We really want to get our licks in," Lambraia said. "We really want this one."
A win would mean the Eagles host the first-round region game. A loss would send them on the road to play the winner of 4A-7, which features powerhouse Orlando Bishop Moore.
Not that the Eagles are quivering in their boots at the thought of taking on Bishop Moore, but they would rather set off regionals in Booster Stadium.
Vincent Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352 848-1430.
[Last modified January 27, 2006, 01:21:16]
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