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Countryside takes championship on PKs

Eighty minutes wasn't enough to decide a winner the last time Palm Harbor University and Countryside played and 100 more couldn't settle it Friday.

By BRANDON WRIGHT
Published January 13, 2007


PALM HARBOR - Eighty minutes wasn't enough to decide a winner the last time Palm Harbor University and Countryside played and 100 more couldn't settle it Friday.

Penalty kicks, however, could.

Juan Rivas buried a shot into the lower left of the goal as Countryside defeated PHU 1-1 4-3 in PKs to win the Hurricane Watch Tournament.

"Usually the level of soccer goes down when you play longer," Countryside coach Dave Sica said. "But tonight, I think you saw it go up. I tip my hat to (PHU)."

With an undefeated season, a No. 1 national ranking and the tournament title hanging in the balance, Rivas brushed aside the "overrated" chants from PHU fans and calmly went to his left as goalkeeper Phil Xanthoudakis dove right.

"You feel bad it had to end this way because both teams played their hearts out," Sica said. "It was a nailbiter."

Both teams played shorthanded as Kyle Kuhlman (Countryside) and Eugene Starikov (PHU) were in Indianapolis receiving their National Soccer Coaches Association of America/adidas All-American awards. In addition, PHU's Sebastien Millette missed the match with the flu and the Cougars' Chris Taylor was sent off in the 25th minute after a double yellow card.

Josh Kent gave the Cougars (22-0-1) a 1-0 lead just before halftime but PHU's (15-4-1) Andrew Smith got the equalizer in the 61st minute after banging in a Nick Eby rebound from 6 yards out.

East Lake (9-4-3) took third place with a 3-1 win over Mitchell (13-6-2).

SOUTH COUNTY CHAMPS: Sebastian Thurierre and Billy Siesel scored as Seminole defeated host Lakewood 2-0. The Warhawks will represent the South County in Friday's Pinellas County Athletic Association Championship match.

WALLACE SELECTED: St. Petersburg's Anthony Wallace was selected by FC Dallas in the first round (ninth pick) of Friday's MLS Superdraft. Wallace, a freshman at USF who played a year at Lakewood before moving to the U.S. Residency Program in Bradenton, is training with the U-20 national team in Fort Lauderdale. Wallace joins fellow national team player and Tampa product Blake Wagner, who was drafted by FC Dallas last season.

Brandon Wright can be reached at bwright@sptimes.com or (727) 892-2216.