Mustangs on target in semifinal victory

Published January 17, 2008

NEW PORT RICHEY - Morgan Shellenberger doesn't know exactly where the ball came from. But she does know this: With just more than six minutes to play Wednesday and a state playoff berth on the line, she knocked that ball over the goalkeeper's head and into the back of the net.

The goal broke a scoreless tie and lifted Mitchell to a 1-0 win over Alonso (12-3-2) in a rain-soaked Class 6A, District 7 semifinal.

"I just chipped it over the goalkeeper's head," Shellenberger said.

It was more than enough for Mitchell, which dominated most of the match. The second-seeded Mustangs (13-3-1), who face Countryside in the 6A-7 final Friday night, clinched their first playoff berth since 2005.

"I felt like (the goal) took forever," Mitchell coach Karl Kukec said. "It was just a big relief."

Mitchell's win capped a marathon day at the 6A-7 tournament. Countryside's 2-1 win over Sickles in the first semifinal featured a half-hour injury stoppage, two scoreless overtimes and, finally, a penalty kick shootout won by the Cougars 4-2. Mitchell's game didn't begin until 9:15 p.m., more than an hour behind schedule.

The game also featured a steady rain that grew increasingly harder as the match progressed.

"It was very difficult," Shellenberger said of the conditions.