Prep girls soccer | Saint Stephen's string of five district titles ends

St. Petersburg Shorecrest blanks Saint Stephen's

twolfrum@bradenton.comJanuary 19, 2013 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- The St. Petersburg Shorecrest girls soccer team knew one person stood between it and an elusive district championship.

So the Chargers dedicated three defenders, sometimes more, to make sure Saint Stephen's star Hannah Howell couldn't get free.

Second-seeded Shorecrest frustrated Howell, who scored six goals in Thursday's semifinal, and got plenty of offense on the way to a 4-0 victory and a Class 1A-District 8 championship Friday night at Out-of-Door Academy.

"It looked to me like it was a 5-on-1," Saint Stephen's head coach Eric Howell said. "To Shorecrest's credit, their back line comes in hard to every tackle. ... I thought they did a very nice job of pressuring her the entire time."

The Chargers (17-3-2) got two goals from Skyler Ellenburg to get past the top-seeded Falcons (12-3-3) in the district final for the first time in three seasons. Shorecrest scored two goals in each half and turned away every Saint Stephen's chance, most of them coming after Howell dribbled through multiple defenders.

The two teams played a scoreless tie during the regular season.

"It's a big deal for us in terms of accomplishing one of our goals," Shorecrest head coach Neal Wolfrath said. "It's not a surprise to us. We fully expected that we could be competitive in this game and win this game. I didn't think 4-0 would be the scoreline."

Saint Stephen's saw its run of five consecutive district titles come to an end. Seniors Howell and Alexis Sedillo had never lost a district tournament game.

The Falcons will travel to Tampa Prep at 7 p.m. Wednesday for a region quarterfinal.

"It's kind of a gut shot, really. I really feel for the seniors, Hannah and Alexis. They're not used to losing their district matches. It's not something I ever want to get used to," Eric Howell said. "I told them to think about this for about five more minutes. It's never fun to get thoroughly beaten. ... Let's throw it away. Let's move on, and we still have a winner-take-all game next week."

Demi Tellios opened the scoring for Shorecrest when she wheeled and booted the ball about 20 years into the top left corner of the net with 23 minutes, 15 seconds remaining in the first half.

Ellenburg followed 10 minutes later with a shot from the top of the penalty box.

Shorecrest's two second-half goals, one from Ellenburg and one from Jade Casewell, came after Falcons goalkeeper Gabrielle Woodruff got her hands on the ball but couldn't hold on.

"It was a tough night to play goalie on," Eric Howell said. "We didn't challenge their goalie. She didn't have to make any saves. ... That's what you do. You send balls on goal and try to make things happen."

Hannah Howell, who twice fell to the turf with an injured right foot, got three good shots in the first half, but two just missed the goal, and goalkeeper Natalie Zolper snuffed the other.

Saint Stephen's only other shot came from Kelsey Leskinen, but Zolper made a diving save.

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