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After two scoreless ties with Pasco, Zephyrhills breaks through for a 1-0 win and a semifinal berth.
By BRANT JAMES
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 31, 2001
BROOKSVILLE -- Phillip Castro knew to expect nothing else.
Not after the Zephyrhills coach's fourth-seeded team and No. 5 Pasco had played to scoreless ties in both of their regular-season meetings. Not with what he called the "down the road" factor. And certainly not in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A, District 8 boys tournament. So when midfielder Chris Hinkle finally broke through with a goal 22 minutes into the game, Castro knew it was probably time to hold on.
It was, and the Bulldogs did, winning 1-0 to set up a 6 p.m. meeting today with top-seeded Hudson in the semifinals. The winner will earn a spot in the Region 2 tournament and a date with the winner of the other semifinal, either No. 2 Springstead or No. 3 Central. With several injured players -- including goals-leader John Briscoe (29) -- still scuttling back into form, Castro said his team is "not playing very well right now."
That doesn't mean he's conceding anything to the Cobras, whom his team lost to and tied.
"You can't make a mistake at this level at this time, and Hudson is a good team. But if we play our best, we're going to beat them," he said.
Hudson finished 10-1-1 in the district.
Zephyrhills controlled play throughout the game, but kept things interesting with a maddening inability to finish open chances.
Kyle Briscoe mashed a 20-yard shot off the crossbar. His brother, John, still rusty after missing three weeks with a knee injury, squandered three chances, including chipping a Salvador Frias pass to the goal mouth well over the bar.
Hinkle scored his 12th goal of the season when he intercepted a poor clear near the penalty circle, and fired a quick shot that froze goalie Gilbert Montelongo.
Zephyrhills goaltender Eric Cortright finished with five saves on 12 shots.
Montelongo had six saves on 24 shots.
Intermittent rain in the second half heightened the possibility of Pasco capitalizing on a slip or slide by a defender, but the break never happened.
The Pirates' best chances late in the game came on free kicks -- two by Montelongo that flared well wide.