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Friday, Mar 27, 2015
Nature Coast

NCT takes district crown in PKs

Hernando Today correspondent


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BROOKSVILLE - After two regular-season games decided by identical 2-1 scores, Friday's third clash between Class 3A, District 7 rivals - top-seeded Hudson and second-seeded Nature Coast Technical - couldn't conclude after 100 minutes.

Eventually it resulted in yet another 2-1 verdict.

Tied at 1-all, a pair of scoreless 10-minute overtimes gave way to a thrilling conclusion at Shark Tank Stadium in penalty kicks.

NCT senior goalkeeper Samantha Oliveira stonewalled the first two PK attempts by Lady Cobra senior Dominique Cirnigliaro and sophomore Nicole Staley.

Fortunately for the visiting Lady Cobras, freshmen Devyn Cabral and Brittany Cirnigliaro picked up the slack providing back-to-back successful conversions.

For its part, the host Lady Sharks countered with successful PK conversions by senior Hailey Lalande, frosh Jayna Tyler and senior Rosie Witherell to lead 3-2.

Hudson sophomore Caroline DiMonda's PK attempt climbed the ladder high and sailed wide over the net, touching off a jubilant celebration for the hosts.

Pasco County's leading scorer, Dominique Cirnigliaro, entered with 56 goals. The West Florida University signee, who had buried a combined six goals over the past two district matches, was never a factor.

After hitting the turf for the sixth time early in the second half, she suffered a right wrist/forearm injury missing the remainder of the second half.

The Lady Sharks' upset win - the tourney's only match where a higher seed tumbled - snapped the Cobras' (21-5-1) 17-game winning streak.

Hudson's last loss was to Springstead in Spring Hill on Nov. 14, 4-2.

With the victory, NCT (19-2-2) will host a 3A-Region II quarterfinal next Thursday against Sunlake.

The Lady Seahawks fell Friday in the 3A-8 finas against Land O' Lakes at Zephyrhills, 4-0.

The Nature Coast victory was significant, marking back-to-back district titles for only second-ever Hernando County girls soccer team in 24 seasons.

HHS' Brittany Cirnigliaro scored the game's first goal on assist by Marissa Speary at 17:46.

Within 10 minutes of Dominique Cirnigliaro's being helped off the pitch in the second half, NCT knotted the score.

Senior forward Lisa Soehngen ripped a shot at Lady Cobra junior keeper Brittany Wilkins.

Wilkins' deflection, however, traveled onto the path of Lalande, who buried the carom for her team-leading and county-high-tying 27th goal, 1-1.

"Their (NCT's) first goal was like a punch in the gut," described Hudson mentor Stephen Jones. "But I was real proud how we kept our composure."

In evaluating the tilt, "This is one of the most exciting games I've ever been associated with," remarked Jones. "It's tough to lose a game this way. Now, we've just got to focus on Thursday night. With class and character anything is possible."

From the home sideline, 2013 Hernando Today Coach of Year Lisa Masserio was beaming.

"I feel like our team played with incredible heart tonight," said Masserio joining Springstead's Polo Furlong in 2009-10 and 2010-11 as the only county girls soccer mentors to achieve back-to-back district championships. "Even after giving up a goal, we were determined to play hard and remain focused.

"I'm so proud of this team," added Masserio, who climbed to 69-25-11 lifetime. "I thought it was a very hard-fought match. I thought we dominated possession the last 30 minutes of the second half. The overtime was pretty even until we pulled it out in PKs."

Masserio described the 2012 Hernando Today Player of the Year Oliveira as, "a rock star. It's a credit to her on how well she played."

"I love playing defense with Sam (Oliveira)," added the 17-year-old Witherell. "Personally, I wouldn't want anyone else in the nets for us."

On the key to the game, "I honestly thought we shut (Dominique) Cirnigliaro down," pointed out Witherell. "She's a great player, but we played great team defense. This was so huge; I didn't want my senior year to end without another district championship."

"Tonight was a tremendous team effort," reflected the 17-year-old Lalande. "Defensively, we did a great job. Offensively, getting that first goal for us was huge."

Lalande's MVP choice was simple: "In all the years I've played with Sam, she's never let me down. She did it again tonight."

Nature Coast 2, Hudson 1 (3-2 PKs)

NCT 0 1 0 0 -- 1

HUD 1 0 0 0 -- 1

Goals - NCT: Lalande; HUD: Brittany Cirnigliaro.

Assists - HUD: Speary.

Shots on goal - HUD: 10; NCT: 11.

Saves - HUD: Wilkins (9); NCT: Oliveira (8).

Yellow cards - HUD: Dominique Cirnigliaro and Rux (unsporting behavior); NCT: Tyler (persistent infringement), Lalande (unsporting behavior).

Blue cards - none. Red cards - none.

Records - Nature Coast Technical (19-2-2), Hudson (21-5-1).

Class 3A, District 7 Girls Soccer Tourney Results

at NCT's Shark Tank Stadium


Hernando 6, Weeki Wachee 0


Fivay 5, Crystal River 0

Hudson 6, Hernando 0

Springstead 2, Citrus 1 (2 OT)

NCT 3, Central 1


Hudson 4, Springstead 1

NCT 4, Fivay 0



NCT 2, Hudson 1 (3-2 PKs).

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