EAST MANATEE -- Making a patented run down the left wing to latch onto a through ball into space, Haley Rounsifer galloped past Braden River's last defender and squirted a shot across the front of the goal.
The ball spilled off Pirates keeper Amber Dion and into the path of Marcela Montoya, who nailed the tap-in goal.
While Rounsifer didn't score that particular goal with roughly 19 minutes remaining in Thursday's Class 4A-Region 3 quarterfinal, the sophomore forward's actions were indicative of just how tough she was to defend. Consequently, Rounsifer bagged two goals and her menacing pace lifted visiting Cape Coral Ida Baker past host Braden River, 4-3.
"She's definitely a player," Braden River head coach Don Engelberger said. "She's very good. We did know we had to contain her, and we didn't. With that being said, sometimes good players make good things happen."
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The victory sends Ida Baker (18-6-1) into Tuesday's regional semifinals at Naples Gulf Coast, which knocked off North Port 5-0 on Thursday.
Rounsifer began inflicting her damage four minutes into the match, when she darted past Braden River's defense and looped a left-footed shot past Dion for the opening goal.
Then Braden River head coach Don Engelberger shouted to his team, "It's our time. Pirates, it's our time," right before the club
took a corner in the 19th minute.
The result was Karen Lyvers recording an equalizer.
But Braden River (11-5-1) barely had time to celebrate before Rounsifer utilized her speed to poke the ball past a charging Dion at the top of the box.
"(It was) pretty close. I had to kind of give it all I had, just reach out and fall a little bit," Rounsifer said.
That 2-1 halftime cushion ballooned to a two-goal lead when Paxton Guerin's shot deflected off a Pirates' defender and into the net eight minutes into the second half.
One of Braden River's two senior starters, Megan Wagner, brought Braden River within one point a few minutes later.
However, Rounsifer delivered the goods with her blazing run that Montoya benefited from just 19 minutes from time.
"Definitely just read the plays where the ball's going to go and don't give up," said Rounsifer, who holds Ida Baker's single-season scoring record with 46 goals this year.
A late Joanne Gigliotti goal in the 71st minute drew Braden River closer to sending the match into extra time, but the Bulldogs tightened their defense.
"These girls are level-headed," Engelberger said. "To be so young, they know what the job is and they go out and do it. Unfortunately, somebody has to lose and that was us (Thursday)."
Ida Baker, which reached the Class 3A regional final last year and won a state title in 2012, is looking for a similar run this season with Rounsifer as a sole striker following Roxie Fraser's season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament earlier in the season.
"We play a heavy midfield presence, control the midfield and a one-high," Ida Baker head coach Christopher Vianest said. "More like an English Premier League style. And ever since we've done that, it's really opened up the game for us because now defenders really don't know how to defend it a lot."
Meanwhile, the Pirates lose six seniors and two senior starters in Wagner and Dion, but return a bevy of underclassmen.
"The future of this program is fantastic," Engelberger said. "It's one of those teams that you can't help but love. Because everybody on there's got the same goal. There's no individuals, and I love that.
Jason Dill, Herald sports writer, can be contacted at 941-745-7017 or on Twitter @Jason_Dill