By CAREY FREEMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 23, 2001
BROOKSVILLE -- Crystal River had everything going its way Monday night: A one-goal lead, a perfect record and the inside track for the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference title. However, the Pirates could not forecast what would happen next.
Three goals and 40 minutes later and the point was crystal clear. Crystal River would have to wait at least another day to secure the GCAC title after a 3-1 loss to Central, its first of the season.
"Springstead just beat (Central) 4-0 and our kids know that, and the way they played tonight, they won't win (tonight) either," said Crystal River coach Dave Soluri, referring to tonight's game against Springstead. "We couldn't pass the ball and we couldn't see what they were doing offensively. We went to being individuals instead of a team. It's happened a couple times before and hopefully this will wake them up for tomorrow night."
A Crystal River win over Springstead tonight would clinch the GCAC title.
Though they played an inspired first half, the Pirates (13-1-2) seemed to run out of steam in the second.
After struggling to find the net, the Bears (10-4-3) finally broke loose in the 46th minute when Dave Bernard headed home the tying goal on a play made possible by the vision of midfielder Sean O'Sullivan and the precise passing of Brett Lorenzetti.
"Brett Lorenzetti made a run down the line and made a beautiful cross, right to my head, and I just put it far post," Bernard said. "I didn't have to do much. Brett put it right on my head."
But the Bears were hardly done. Central notched its second goal less than seven minutes later when Lorenzetti collected a loose ball in front of the Crystal River goal and booted it home for a 2-1 lead.
Central put the game away with less than two minutes to play after the Bears were awarded a direct free kick just six feet from the goal after Crystal River keeper Zack Cummins was penalized for illegally handling a ball. The Bears made Crystal River pay for the miscue when O'Sullivan took a back-heel pass from Tim Woods and booted it over the Pirates' human wall.