By JEREMY RASMUSSEN
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 10, 2001
VALRICO -- Bloomingdale wasn't looking for national attention, but it might get some after upsetting top-ranked Palm Harbor U. 2-1 in a Class 4A, District 7 game Tuesday.
The Hurricanes (14-2-1 overall, 5-1 in 4A-7) are No. 1 in the Fox Student Sports Fab 50 poll but have dropped two in a row since winning the Sarasota tournament on Dec. 23. PHU lost 4-0 to Seminole on Friday.
Bloomingdale (10-1-3, 3-0-3), which finished third at the Sarasota tournament, got an honorable mention in the poll. "We sort of put this game in perspective of how we approached Lake Howell last year," Bloomingdale coach Sue Peet said of her team's previous meeting with the nation's No. 1 team. "In the first half, we were like, "Oh my gosh, they're good.' Then as long as we hung around, we started building up confidence."
In the first half, Bloomingdale withstood the ball-control attack of PHU and got some chances of its own late. PHU midfielder Gabby Farkasfalvy had the Hurricanes' best chance midway through the first half, but her hard shot toward the left post was deflected by Megan Robey.
With five minutes left in the half, a goal by Bloomingdale's Lyndrea Sutherland was called back because of offsides. But with less than a minute to play, Tara Escribano controlled a deflected pass from Kim Martins and blasted it into the left side of the goal.
Midway through the second half, the Bulls scored again when Martins made a long cross to Ashley Quaid, who headed it just inside the far post.
The Bulls needed the insurance goal because five minutes later, Sarah McGonegal finished on a pass from Devon Sibole to pull the Hurricanes within 2-1.
In the last few minutes, Robey and the Bulls' defense turned away a flurry of shots. "We thought we were on an even playing level with (PHU)," Robey said. "We just had to forget their No. 1 ranking, withstand some pressure and play like we know we can."
VALRICO -- Just after its nationally ranked girls team lost, the PHU boys repaid the favor by upsetting the Bulls 4-1.
Bloomingdale (10-4, 4-2), which finished second in last week's Gaither Soccer Field Classic, was ranked No. 14 in the latest Fox Student Sports Fab 50 poll.
"We had good practices," PHU coach Juan Pablo Pinzon said. "We were mentally prepared, and we showed that when we play our game, we can play with anyone."
Perhaps more important than a national ranking, PHU (11-4-1, 3-2-1) could be in a better position for the Class 4A, District 8 tournament.
"This was a big-time district win for us," Pinzon said. "I told the guys this was our biggest game of the year."
In the first half, the Bulls could not solve PHU goalie Matt Petersen. He stopped a hard shot by Ryan Smith in the 20th minute then tipped Todd Cripe's point-blank shot just over the crossbar.
In the 30th minute, PHU striker Tom Barr got free in the middle and got a hard shot past Chris Sedlak for a 1-0 halftime lead. Petersen came up with three tough saves in the second half before Brandon Hancock finished on a cross from Mohammed Abdel-Aziz in the 54th minute.
Steven Kimball put the Hurricanes back on top in the 62nd minute on a through ball from Barr. And PHU went up 3-1 on Chris Belmont's penalty kick in the 65th minute. Bloomingdale outshot PHU 15-9, but even when the Bulls beat Petersen, they couldn't finish. In the 70th minute, Smith volleyed a shot over Petersen from the top of the box, but Travis Smith was there to head it over the goal.
Casey Dulin finished the scoring with a finish on Barr's cross in the 75th minute.