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Indians hang tough, fall short

By MIKE READLING

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2001


TALLAHASSEE -- Entering Thursday's Class 2A girls state semifinal you would have been hard-pressed to find one impartial person at the FSU Soccer Complex who thought East Bay had a chance to score a goal much less win the game.

After all, the Indians were taking on defending state champion Gulf Breeze, a team that had scored 10 goals in a game nine times, allowed only two in its past 10 games and recorded 24 shutouts en route to a 28-2 record.

Until last season East Bay, which won its first district title three weeks ago, had never advanced past out of the district.

But the Indians were believers and, at least for the first 73 minutes and 35 seconds of the game, so were some of those doubting spectators. Then the truth came crashing down.

Gulf Breeze's Annie Adams took a pass from Shannon Wing and dribbled through two defenders into the box, where she tapped a shot underneath a diving Katie Relihan for the only goal in a 1-0 Dolphin win. Gulf Breeze (29-2) will attempt to defend its title at 8 Saturday against Miami Gulliver Prep.

"I know a lot of people counted us out but I knew my team was conditioned to win this game," East Bay coach Claudine Sosa said. "They definitely never gave up. They hung in there, we just couldn't put the passes together."

That goal was the culmination of a Dolphin offensive onslaught that reeled off 20 shots on goal and culled 11 corner kicks out of the Indians defense.

East Bay, on the other hand, managed no shots on goal and earned one corner kick, which was quickly disposed of by the Gulf Breeze defenders.

The Dolphins actually had the game won twice but the referee disallowed two goals -- one at the 21:50 mark of the first half and another with 7:37 to go in the game -- when he ruled Gulf Breeze players were pushing in the penalty box.

"We've had four goals taken out of the net this year," Gulf Breeze coach Mike Lagow said. "I've learned not to celebrate until the referee calls it good. It's frustrating, it really is, but every time we take corner kicks we believe we can get one in."

Relihan was ejected with just over three minutes to go in the game when it was ruled she intentionally took a player down in the box to stop a break.

She was replaced in the net by Shannon Acker and East Bay finished playing one player down.

"It was a 50-50 ball and she landed on me as I slid to get it," Relihan said. "When I got to the ball my feet slid into her head and, I guess, that's all the referee saw. When he came over with the card I thought it was for her. I've got so many bruises and I hurt every where on my body from them running into me all night."

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