Three area state title hopefuls left


Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 12:03 a.m.

Ten area girl’s high school soccer teams entered last Thursday’s regional semifinal play with hopes of taking home a state title. After a disastrous night in which five teams were shutout and a total of seven squads lost by a combined score of 34-3, only three teams remain.

After defeating Fleming Island 4-1, Gainesville High (15-5-4) travels to Jacksonville today to take on state powerhouse Bartram Trail in what should be the biggest test of an experienced Hurricane squad that features eight seniors. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

The area’s career leader in goals scored, Emily Dowd, will look to extend her streak of 11 straight games with a goal while leading a group hungry for their first state title appearance.

While Dowd has 39 goals on the year, fellow senior Hannah Kurdila has been a force as a passer and shooter. Kurdila is second on the club with 21 goals and leads the team with 19 assists.

The road only gets tougher for the Hurricanes. With a victory tonight, the team would have to travel to take on the winner of the match between Niceville (16-2-3) and Choctawhatchee (14-2-1). A source of confidence for the team comes from the fact that they went 2-1 against cross-town rival Eastside, which defeated Niceville earlier this season.

The two other remaining squads both come from the 3A classification. Keystone Heights (13-7-2) has derived its success from a total team effort this year. The team has moved the ball around expertly this season, getting goals from just about every player that wears an Indians uniform.

The team has picked up district and regional victories against Taylor and The Villages in the last week by a combined 10-1. Tonight at 7, they get the home-field advantage when they take on Ocala Trinity Catholic (19-4-3).

The Indians' opponent in the District 5-3A final, Taylor County, advanced to the regional semifinal for the first time in school history with a 5-0 victory over Santa Rosa South Walton.

The Bulldogs (10-6-1) will bring their six four-year players to take on Pensacola Catholic at 6 p.m.

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