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Saturday, Mar 28, 2015

Morolla, Blackwell sends Citrus packing

Hernando Today correspondent


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BROOKSVILLE - At the midway point of the Class 3A, District 7 Girls Soccer Tournament at Nature Coast Technical's Shark Tank Stadium, each of the higher seeds advanced.

On Monday, eighth-seeded Hernando ousted ninth-seeded Weeki Wachee, 6-0.

Through the first three quarterfinals on Tuesday, third-seeded Fivay, led by Leah Neck's four goals, expunged sixth-seeded Crystal River, 5-0; top-seeded Hudson eliminated Hernando, 6-0, and No. 4 Springstead edged No. 5 Citrus in double overtime, 2-1.

In an evenly played tilt, CHS (10-11-2) initially dented the scoreboard at 64:07 as senior Erin Cagwin fed senior Elizabeth Rinaldi to snap a scoreless deadlock.

CHS sophomore goalie Katlyn Marks, who saved nine shots, had a shutout until 77:45 when Hernando County's leading scorer, senior striker Nicole Morolla, connected with junior Erin Blackwell, 1-1.

In the first extra session, Marks saved two of the three shots aimed at her.

In the second 10-minute overtime period, Morolla's county-leading 19th assist led to Blackwell's 22nd goal at the 97th minute to help seal the thrilling come-from-behind nod.

It marked the first time in three postseason meetings that the Spring Hill booters had topped CHS.

In a series dating back to 1997-98, SHS (13-4-2) climbed to 10-9-4 lifetime against the Inverness crew.

Since SHS was eliminated at Lecanto in the 4A-9 quarterfinals on Jan. 26, 2005, the Lady Eagles have posted a 7-0-3 mark against the Golden Hurricanes.

With the win, SHS moved on to face red-hot Hudson Wednesday at 6 p.m.

"Their first goal kind of took the wind out of our sails," said CHS' first-year mentor Mark Cassidy. "We fought hard for 100 minutes and at the end of the night theirs went in and ours didn't.

"Tonight was one of the best complete efforts we've had all season," added Cassidy. "I've got no regrets. I'm ready to line up and go again."

Eagle senior midfielder Haleigh McDuff, who hadn't played in a month since suffering a hamstring injury, flawlessly directed traffic as SHS outshot CHS, 19-9.

"I've had better games," pointed out McDuff. "Citrus came in ready to play, but so did we."

McDuff gave props offensively to the Morolla-Blackwell combination.

"We wouldn't have won without them," she smiled.

"Defensively, Kensi (Reiss) played her heart out, so did everyone else," noted McDuff. "Hudson is extremely physical, but none of us are ready for our season to end."

As the game clock inched down, Morolla recalled the terrific passes to Blackwell.

"I always look for her (Blackwell), I knew she'd take the shot," explained the 17-year-old Morolla. "Give credit to Citrus, they played well, but we held it together. I'm so glad; I didn't want my senior year to end.

"Those last two assists were fantastic," said the 17-year-old Blackwell. "I wanted to do whatever I could to keep these seniors playing."

Later Tuesday, No. 2 Nature Coast downed No. 7 Central, 3-1. The Lady Sharks will take on Fivay on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Springstead 2, Citrus 1

CIT 0 1 0 0--1

SPG 0 1 0 1 --2

Goals - CIT: Rinaldi; SPG: Blackwell (2).

Assists - CIT: Cagwin; SPG: Morolla (2).

Shots on goal - CIT: 9; SPG: 19.

Saves - CIT: Marks (9); SPG: Booth (4).

Yellow cards - none.

Blue cards - none. Red cards - none.

Records -Citrus (10-11-2), Springstead (13-4-2).

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)

Nature Coast 3, Central 1

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