Girls soccer | Palmetto wins district opener with mercy rule

In search of first crown, Tigers dominate district opener

jdill@bradenton.comJanuary 12, 2013 

PALMETTO -- The Palmetto girls soccer team has never won a district championship.

On Friday, the Tigers took one step closer to bringing the program its first-ever title.

Palmetto blasted St. Petersburg Gibbs 8-0 at Harllee Stadium to move into the Class 3A-District 10 semifinals.

The Tigers (10-3-2) received a hat trick from Nohely Piñeda and two goals from Britton Stancil, including the final tally with 25:37 remaining in the second half that ended the game via the mercy rule.

The result was a carbon copy of the regular season match between the two schools, and it gave Palmetto head coach Matt Foy the ability to experiment with his team to see what he'll have in the future.

"You get girls that get limited playing time now can play," Foy said. "And you put them in spots when some girls are missing, they can fill. And you can start looking at next year's team."

But Friday was about the present, too, and the Tigers looked ready to finally get

over the hump and win a district crown.

Palmetto clearly dominated the flow of the match and didn't allow one shot from Gibbs.

Gibbs only moved the ball into Palmetto's attacking third a handful of times thanks to Palmetto's punishing ball control in the midfield.

The Tigers' forwards benefited as a result, with Jade Adams (two goals) joining Stancil and Piñeda with a two-goal game (brace).

Stancil's blinding speed overpowered the Gibbs back four all night, and she netted the game-winner a little more than 14 minutes into the second half.

"I rely on my speed because my footwork is a little touchy," said Stancil, a freshman. "But I usually rely on my speed."

Despite the easy first-round test, the Tigers are focused on completing the mission at hand. And that goal is to win a district title.

And this season has Palmetto fielding a strong club with four players plan to play in college next year.

Megan Peterson (Carson Newman), Stephanie Brouwer (Navy), Jenna Steininger (North Florida) are set, while fellow senior Cassandra Ordoñez is taking a visit to College Station, Texas, next Friday. That means she'll miss the district championship game, should Palmetto win its semifinal match next Thursday.

The Tigers host the winner of Friday's match between St. Petersburg Lakewood and Gulfport Boca Ciega.

"This is our really good year to win it," Foy said.

To help aide Palmetto for a postseason run, Foy scheduled Manatee (Class 4A) late in the season to prepare his club for the grind.

"Me and (Manatee head coach) George (Ameres) are pretty good friends," Foy said. "So we set key games up for certain things, and it helps us out for stuff like that."

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