BRADENTON -- Butch Morley couldn't have been happier when he heard where his Bradenton Christian girls soccer team was seeded for the Class 1A-District 7 tournament.
A school function took most of the Panthers away for 10 days, and Monday's practice was the first full one the team had conducted in nearly two weeks.
So Morley wanted BCS to get at least one game under its belt prior to a possible semifinal match-up with top-seeded Saint Stephen's.
He got his wish: fourth-seeded BCS drew fifth-seeded Imagine School of North Port in a quarterfinal. And the Panthers got the win, too, zipping past the Sharks 8-0 in a game that was stopped with just over seven minutes remaining because of the mercy rule.
"We were pleased we didn't have to wait and play (Thursday) night," Morley said.
The Panthers (6-5-1) return to Saint Stephen's Moore Complex at Turner Fields, the tournament's site, at 7 p.m. Thursday to face the Falcons.
Second-seeded Out-of-Door Academy plays third-seeded Sarasota Christian at 5 p.m. in Thursday's other semifinal. The championship game will be played 7 p.m. Friday.
Emily Malcom's goal with 7:06 remaining clinched the win for BCS. It was a fitting tally considering Malcom, a sophomore, scored the first goal of the night less than 15 minutes after kickoff and added another roughly 13 minutes before halftime.
Malcom also had an assist.
Madison Allen, an eighth-grader, added a hat trick and two assists.
"They're our two top
scorers," Morley said. "Hopefully, they're peaking at the right time."
Ayla Johnston and Mackenzie Allen also scored for the Panthers, who also received an assist from Madison Cusack.
Of all the players who either scored or assisted on a goal, none were seniors.
That bodes well for BCS' future, yet the Panthers aren't ready to ditch the present. On Thursday, they'll attempt to defeat the rival Falcons for the first time to reach Friday's title match as well as next week's region playoffs.
"All our girls are fit, which is a big thing at this time of the year. All our girls are fit and healthy," Morley said. "We're going to just try our best."