Sunday, February 7, 2010

Preps: Palm Harbor, Seminole advance, Newsome falls

The Tampa Bay area will have four representitives at this weeks FHSAA Girls Soccer State Finals at the University of Tampa's Pepin Stadium after Palm Harbor University and Seminole both booked their places in the final four with victories on Saturday, joining Tampa Prep and Berkeley Prep.

The Hurricanes, currently the reigning 5A champions, needed to come from a goal down to force overtime, where Zoe Lombard scored the game-winning goal with just under two minutes left in the second overtime for a 2-1 victory against Apopka.

PHU, currently ranked No.10 in the nation by ESPN Rise, has won four state titles in its history, the first coming in 1999, and will look to continue its road to a fifth when it faces Miami Lourdes this Friday in the 6A semifinals.

Seminole, on the other hand, hasn't been to a final four since 1991, falling in the region finals each of the past two seasons. The Warhawks will now get the chance to win their first state championship under long-time coach Steve Kuplicki, first facing a semifinal against Lynn Haven Mosley after a 1-0 victory against Venice.

Newsome, though, won't be joining the Warhawks in the 5A semifinals after falling for the third straight season to Lakeland Jenkins in the region playoffs. ESPN Rise's No.3 team scored twice in the first half, and while the Wolves tried to rally, they were unable to come close enough to make the Eagles sweat out their 4-2 victory.

With both sides having good young players, as long as both schools stay in the same class, this could develop into a deep-seated rivalry, as Newsome and Freedom's girls teams had when they both opened at the same time. The Wolves will be back, and still be strong next season.

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