BRADENTON -- Supplied with plenty of time and space, Sarah Wasser circled the soccer ball like a predator sizing up its prey.
The Manatee junior was about 30 yards from the goal Monday during a Class 4A-District 11 quarterfinal against Port Charlotte when she lofted a high kick that sailed over the turf lining Joe Kinnan Field at Hawkins Stadium.
It wasn't the prettiest try the Hurricanes had all night. But after a long wait and a big bounce it went in.
That was all Manatee needed.
Wasser's goal, which came inside the final 10 minutes of the first half, spearheaded Manatee's 7-0 peppering of the Pirates. The third-seeded Canes (12-3-3) head to second-seeded Venice on Wednesday for a district semifinal, with the winner earning a berth in Friday's championship game as well as next week's regional tournament.
Manatee outshot Port Charlotte 10-3 in the first half but didn't light the scoreboard until Wasser scored.
"It's a funny game," said Canes coach George Ameres. "Sometimes, luck plays a part in what you're doing...We had some really great looks, just unlucky in certain situations. And then you get a fluke goal like that, and a little bit of luck on our side..."
Manatee really opened things up in the latter part of the second half, scoring six times. Michelle Krebser and Clancy Vaughan had two goals apiece, and Rebecca Byrnes and Katherine Christenson scored, as well.
Jessica Schafer had a pair of assists and Sydney Kimball added one.
"It gave us inspiration to push forward and kind of pick up the pace," Byrnes said of Wasser's goal. "Everybody started playing together and we really started to pick up our speed."
Manatee hasn't lost since Nov. 30 and hasn't allowed a goal in its last six games.
"We all started to get together and play our game, which we all know," Byrnes said. "And once we did that, we learned that we could basically do whatever we needed to do."
The Canes face Venice on Wednesday for the third time. The Indians won 3-1 on Nov. 7 at their place before the teams played to a 1-1 tie Nov. 20 in Bradenton.
"Our last two regular-season games were kind of shaky, to be honest with you. I was a little concerned. But it was good to get those last regular-season games and have nothing riding on that," Ameres said, "and it looks like they're gradually getting their momentum back."