Of the four Tampa Bay-area girls soccer teams that reached the state finals tournament, all shared one seemingly distinct advantage: the event was in their backyard at the University of Tampa.
And in one team's case, Tampa Prep
, the event was held at the college campus just across the street from its own.
But the chance for the Bay area to crown four state champions slipped away match by match with only one area team claiming a championship. And Steinbrenner (Lutz)
earned its crown in style.
The Warriors, just a second-year program, topped Merritt Island 2-1 in overtime to earn the Class 4A state championship, the first state crown in any sport for the school.
The winning goal came seven minutes into overtime when Lauren Laughlin
executed a forward somersaulting throw in, with the ball falling right to Carly Keene
, who headed in the winning goal. Marissa Maries
scored the first goal for Steinbrenner, which ended its championship season with a 21-2-2 record.
For Keene, a University of Tampa signee, the game-clinching goal came on the field where she will play collegiate soccer.
In Class 5A, Newsome (Lithia)
was trying to cap a perfect season and earn a possible No. 1 national ranking. Ranked as high as No. 1 or 2 during the season by various national outlets, Newsome (25-1) came up short, falling 2-0 to St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale)
Meanwhile, an unlikely attempt at a state title by St. Petersburg Catholic
ended with a 2-0 loss in the Class 3A title game against Gulliver Prep (Miami)
St. Petersburg Catholic was a surprising challenger for a title with its seven regular season wins. But the Barons got hot in the district tournament and fought all the way to the title game. Despite falling in the state finals, SPC ended the season with a winning record at 13-12.
And in Class 2A, Tampa Prep's girls saw their fourth straight trip to the state tournament end the same way as the previous three – without a state championship.
Since winning it all during the 2007-2008 season, the Terrapins have reached the state tournament each campaign but came up short. They lost in the finals last year and in the semis the year before that.
This week, the Terrapins fell short in a 2-1 loss to Trinity Park (Winter Park) in the state semifinals. Tampa Prep's Colby Maffei put the Terrapins ahead 1-0 with her 42nd goal of the season. But Tampa Prep couldn't muster any more offense as Trinity Park posted two first half goals and went on to the victory.TAMPA PRODUCES TWO PARADE ALL-AMERICANS
Two players from Tampa schools were named to the 2011 Parade All-American Team.
Jefferson wide receiver Chris Moore
and Alonso defensive end Anthony Chickillo
earned the honors.
Moore, a 6-foot-2, 180-pounder who helped Jefferson win the Class 3A state championship, will play collegiately at Cincinnati. Chickillo, who earned MVP honors at the Under Armour All-America Game, is a 6-foot-3, 235-pound speed rusher who has signed with Miami. MANY MORE SIGNEES
There was no shortage of football scholarships signed by Bay area players during National Signing Day. But plenty of other talented athletes in other sports signed their letters of intent as well.
Among the top non-football signings were Sickles (Tampa) girls basketball player Amber Henson
signing with Duke and Plant (Tampa) shooting guard Michael Frazier
signing with Florida.
Other signings included: Girls Soccer
Arielle Anahory; Mitchell (Trinity); Eckerd College
Elena Atenza; Alonso (Tampa); Polk State College
Carly Cepelak; Gaither (Tampa); Lincoln
Auburn Cherry; Mitchell (Trinity); Florida Southern
Morgan Crescent, Land O' Lakes; Eckerd College
Bryane Heaberlin; Berkeley Prep (Tampa); North Carolina
Danielle Leroy; Plant (Tampa); Florida Gulf Coast
Jenny Karl; River Ridge (New Port Richey); Univ. of Tampa
Carly Keene; Steinbrenner (Lutz); University of Tampa
Marissa Maries; Steinbrenner (Lutz); Florida Southern
Tara Marshall; Land O' Lakes; Thomas College
Amber Miller; Tampa Prep; Appalachian State
Lauren Moore; Gaither (Tampa); Tampa
Alexa Morse; Hillsborough (Tampa); Furman
Breana Pullara; Mitchell (Trinity); Thomas
Linzy Rakestraw; Plant (Tampa); Boston College
Taylor Richardson; Berkeley Prep (Tampa); Vanderbilt
Rebecca Rinkevich; Plant (Tampa); Davidson
Kati Schafer; Alonso (Tampa); North Florida
Dani Schulman, Gulf (New Port Richey); Florida Gulf Coast
Nd Ubezonu; Berkeley Prep (Tampa); Furman
Fallon Vaughan; Wharton (Tampa); Jacksonville State
Courtney Welch; Tampa Catholic; StetsonBoys soccer
Daniel Barboto; Hillsborough (Tampa); Univ. of Tampa
Justin Lyles; Land O' Lakes; Thomas
Kody Parker; Land O' Lakes; U of Tampa
Alex Politis; Tampa Prep; Rollins CollegeBaseball
Matt Brandy; Alonso (Tampa); St. Petersburg College
Robby Kalaf; Bloomingdale (Valrico); State College of Florida-Manatee
Javaris Reynolds; King (Tampa); State College of Florida-Manatee
Devin Smith; King (Tampa); South Florida
Roche Woodard; Hillsborough (Tampa); Florida InternationalSoftball
Michelle Devera; Strawberry Crest (Dover); Hillsborough Community College
Phoebe Ellington; Strawberry Crest (Dover); Brevard Community College
Jenna Figueredo; Steinbrenner (Lutz); St. Petersburg College
Maria Garcia; Strawberry Crest (Dover); Pasco-Hernando Community College
Ashley Orta; Sunlake (Land O'Lakes); Santa Fe CC
Amada Polk; Strawberry Crest (Dover); Polk State College
Tyler Riendeau; Sunlake (Land O'Lakes); Landers
Alex Rogers; Sunlake (Land O'Lakes); UNC-Charlotte
Amanda Solar; Sunlake (Land O' Lakes); Tampa
Shelley Stohler; Sunlake (Land O' Lakes); Hillsborough CC