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Wednesday, Apr 01, 2015

Top seeded Cobras oust Springstead, 4-1

Hernando Today correspondent


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BROOKSVILLE - After three days and seven matches, the Class 3A, District 7 Girls Soccer Tournament at Nature Coast Technical's Shark Tank featured no surprises.

Once again in Wednesday's semifinals, the status quo held serve.

Top-seeded Hudson, led by senior striker Dominique Cirnigliaro's hat trick, eliminated No. 4 Springstead (13-5-2), 4-1.

The loss marked the second time in seven years that the West Pasco County crew had eliminated SHS (13-5-2) from the playoffs - both at NCT.

In the night cap, host Nature Coast Technical blanked Fivay, 4-0.

Hudson (21-4-1) and NCT will square up in the 3A-7 final at 7 p.m. Friday at Shark Tank Stadium.

In the two regular-season clashes, the teams split both matches, 2-1.

Cirnigliaro, who entered with 53 goals on the season, opened the scoring at 21:31 on an assist by Caroline DiMonda.

Springstead junior Erin Blackwell countered with her third goal of the playoffs and 23rd of the season at 28:49 following a cross by senior Haleigh McDuff.

Blackwell's goal spoiled junior goalie Brittany Wilkins' bid on her 19th shutout.

The tie didn't last long.

In a game where Hudson outshot Springstead, 21-2, Cirnigliaro snapped the deadlock at 31:32 following a feed by frosh Sydney Lovell.

In the second half, thanks to an assist by Cassidy Rux, Cirnigliaro, added her third goal at 46:00.

HHS' Nicole Staley closed the books at 59:00 on an assist by Cirnigliaro.

"I thought Dominique played really well," explained the 15-year-old Staley. "It's a nice feeling to play with her. She pretty much does this every time she plays.

"What separates her from the others is her physicality and how she wins so many balls."

On the game's importance, "We lost to Mitchell in districts last year," replied Staley. "Tonight's win was really big."

Cirnigliaro echoed Staley's sentiments.

"This was definitely a big game," noted the 17-year-old Cirnigliaro. "I thought we outworked them. I couldn't be more proud of my teammates."

In predicting Friday's district final, "On Friday we have to mentally and physically bring our 'A' game," insisted Cirnigliaro.

"History in this series means a lot," detailed fifth-year HHS mentor Stephen Jones. "My sister played at Hudson against Springstead when there was a tremendous rivalry. Even now, they're such a tactically sound team. They're one of the best-coached teams we face."

Describing Cirnigliaro's efforts, "She plays at a pace that will suit her well at West Florida University," detailed Coach Jones. "Besides her stats, her leadership over the last two years has been tremendous."

On facing the Lady Sharks on Friday, "It should be a great district championship," said Jones. "That's why this match was so big. This is the game that gets you over the hump and into the (regional) playoffs."

Hudson 4, Springstead 1

SPG 1 0 --1

HUD 2 2--4

Goals - SPG: Blackwell; HUD: D. Cirnigliaro (3), Staley.

Assists -SPG: McDuff; HUD: DiMonda, Lovell, Rux, D. Cirnigliaro.

Shots on goal - SPG: 2; HUD: 21.

Saves - SPG: Booth (16); HUD: Wilkins (1).

Yellow cards - HUD: D. Cirnigliaro, Lovell (unsporting behavior).

Blue cards - none. Red cards - none.

Records - Springstead (13-4-2), Hudson (20-4-1).

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