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Palm Harbor U. can't hold onto a 3-1 lead, then falters on penalty kicks as East Lake takes the title.
By BRYAN BURNS, Times Staff Writer
Published January 26, 2008
DUNEDIN - As Palm Harbor University coach Alex Delgado shook hands with East Lake coach Sergie Stopek before the start of the teams' first overtime, Delgado remarked: "Someone needs to film this game. This belongs on ESPN Classic."
No doubt Stopek would like a copy of that tape after the Eagles' come-from-behind, 4-3 penalty kick (4-2) victory.
Tied at 2 after three rounds of penalty kicks, East Lake's Steven Aldridge buried his shot in Round 4, and Palm Harbor U.'s Michael Addonisio beat East Lake keeper David Kirkbride (six saves) but his shot ricocheted off the post.
East Lake's Drew Petzoldt stepped to the penalty spot with the game and the 5A-9 district championship on the line and was true to give the Eagles a stunning victory.
"In 18 years, I've never been in a situation where I'm going to put my team ahead in a championship game on PKs," Petzoldt said. "It's the best feeling in the world; it's indescribable."
Palm Harbor U. led 3-1 after the first half thanks to goals from Ben Sweat, Ishmail Kamara and Andrew Smith's converted penalty kick, but East Lake came storming back in the second half and got a goal back in the 46th minute when Josh Gonzalez corralled a cross from Juan Alcala in the box and scored.
With 11 minutes remaining in the game, Gonzalez collected a rebound in front of goal and found the back of the net to tie it at 3. For Gonzalez, it was his third goal of the game. He scored in the 14th minute to give the Eagles an initial 1-0 lead.
With the victory East Lake (14-2-2) will host a region quarterfinal while Palm Harbor U. (19-2-2) must go on the road. Both of the Hurricanes' losses this season have come on penalty kicks.