Girls soccer: Class 5A, District 10

By KEITH NIEBUHR, Times Staff Writer
Published January 17, 2008

Freshman fueling Terriers' offense

TAMPA - With his team in desperate need of offense entering the district tournament, Hillsborough coach Dwight Wood surveyed the situation, then devised a plan in which freshman Alexa Morse would switch from center-midfield to forward.

Apparently, it has worked.

In two games at her new position, Morse has scored five goals in each. Her latest effort came in a 6-0 win Wednesday over third-seeded Leto that sends the second-seeded Terriers into Friday's final against Plant.

More importantly, it clinched a playoff spot.

"I like (playing forward)," Morse said. "It has been a good transition. It feels good to win. We worked well as a team."

Before the change, Morse had seven goals in Hillsborough's previous 15 games.

"She has not disappointed," Wood said.

The Hillsborough (10-6-1) defense hasn't either and because of its play, Leto (6-8-1) had trouble getting into any kind of rhythm. And it didn't help the Falcons that their passing was a bit off much of the game.

In the other semifinal, top-seeded Plant defeated fifth-seeded Robinson 4-0 in a game that was closer than expected. The Panthers (14-0-4) won 8-0 when the teams met during the regular season.

Plant got plenty of shots off. Thirty-eight, in fact. But few found the net.

It didn't matter.

That's because Plant's reliable defense pitched its 15th shutout.

"We were defensively sound," coach Stephen McGill said. "We just have to finish more."

Plant goals came from Brittany Rudolph, Chelsea Hearne, Lexi Rakestraw and Amanda Hendry.