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SEMINOLE - It took the Tarpon Springs girls soccer team five games before it was able to score its first goal of the season.
Suffice it to say, the Spongers have overcome their short-lived scoring drought.
Against Dixie Hollins in the first round of the Osceola Lady Warrior Holiday Tournament, Tarpon Springs scored twice in the first half Tuesday and notched five more goals after halftime to cruise to a 7-0 victory and a spot in the tournament semifinals today against Clearwater.
The victory marked the second time in less than a week the Spongers defeated Dixie Hollins (1-8-1) by a 7-0 count.
"We've had trouble scoring all year long," Tarpon Springs coach John Freiermuth said. "We've been using so many new people it's been hard for us to come together."
The Spongers (4-4-2) have started to find consistency with their lineup and, consequently, had no such problems finding the back of the net against the Rebels. Nia Hankenhof got the offense rolling 19 minutes in by collecting a rebound in front of Dixie Hollins goalkeeper Amanda Boylson (11 saves) and sending it past the sprawling keeper.
Gabby Finch made it 2-0 just before halftime after blasting a right-footed shot into the upper left corner of the net.
"We're trying to find the right spots for everybody for everything to jell," Freiermuth said. "We're talking, we're listening to one another and we're playing as a team. We're not doing individual stuff. ... When we talk, we play so much better than when we don't talk."
The Spongers put the game away with back-to-back goals from Jenna Tersteegen and Lauren Grindey midway through the second half. For Tersteegen, it was the junior's first game back after sitting on the bench for eight games with a torn quadriceps muscle.
"The main positive from a tournament like this is we get a confidence boost," Tersteegen said. "We learn what we can do on the field together as a team."
In the game's final 10 minutes, Finch added a second goal while Dani Ross and Angie Filoposki each notched scores for Tarpon Springs.
With two-time defending champion Dunedin eliminated, Tarpon Springs is one of the tournament favorites after finishing second the past two seasons.
"The girls are pretty determined to win," Freiermuth said.
Clearwater 5, Gibbs 1
Gibbs took an early 1-0 lead 12 minutes into its match with Clearwater and almost made it 2-0 until its second goal was waved off for offsides. From there, Clearwater regrouped to run off five straight goals to advance to the semifinals of the Osceola Lady Warrior Holiday Tournament.
Brittni Shriver tied the score for Clearwater after converting a penalty kick two minutes after Gibbs (2-7-1) scored. Casondra Valle scored with 10 minutes remaining in the first half to give Clearwater a 2-1 halftime advantage.
Shriver scored again in the second half to finish with two goals. Julia Bosacki and Dawn Ayers also added second-half goals for Clearwater (4-5-1).
Clearwater will play Tarpon Springs at 8 tonight. Osceola and Boca Ciega will face off in the other semifinal at 6.
Dunedin 56, Largo 49
Dunedin lost by 20 the last time it faced Largo, but the Falcons used a 19-6 first-quarter advantage to win the rematch at Dunedin.
"The first time they beat us pretty good," Dunedin coach Dustin Bengstin said. "We changed some things up this time. We pressed them a little bit - we didn't do that at all in the first game - and we did a good job stepping out to guard their shooters."
Cara Trudell had a game-high 18 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead Dunedin.
"She's been playing well for us all year. She wasn't always shooting as well as she is now, but she always has the green light to shoot. I have confidence that she's going to make shots for us."
Egypt Thomas scored 17 to lead Largo (6-2). With the victory, Dunedin improves to 10-0.
Largo 78, Tarpon Springs 37
The Packers started hot, cooled a bit early in the second quarter but regained their form for a victory at Largo.
The Packers led 24-9 after the first quarter, but Tarpon Springs (2-6) cut the lead to five three minutes into the second quarter. From there, it was all Largo as the Packers held a 44-25 lead at halftime.
Senior Largo forward Aldor Kola had a strong game for the Packers with 17 points. Freshman Khari Armstrong added 13 for Largo (5-1).
Lakewood 76, Seminole 43
George Mason signee Mike Morrison had a team-high 14 points to go with eight rebounds, three blocks and two assists to help lead the Spartans at Lakewood.
Lakewood (6-0) led by 10 over Seminole (2-5) after the first quarter and 51-24 at halftime. Dominic Lane hit two 3-pointers early to spark the Spartans offense.
"(Lane's) really been playing well for us the last three games," Lakewood coach Daniel Wright said. "He's probably our steadiest guy coming off the bench for us."
St. Petersburg 52, Mitchell 40
The Greens Devils used their size advantage to improve to 4-2, 3-1 in Class 6A, District 7 at St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg allowed just 14 first-half points to take a 30-14 advantage over Mitchell (1-5) by halftime. The Green Devils held a 20-point lead after the third quarter and substituted liberally in the fourth.
Green Devils 6-foot-5 forward Antwan Carter recorded a double double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, and 6-foot-6 center Steven Kraus added six points and seven rebounds.
"(Carter and Kraus) controlled the inside for us, allowing us to free up some of our shooters outside," St. Petersburg coach Chris Blackwell said.