TAMPA - It might be difficult for some teams to beat an opponent three times in the same season, but the Tampa Prep girls soccer team made it look relatively easy with a 6-1 thrashing of Shorecrest in Tuesday's Class 2A-Region 3 semifinals.
The victory propels Tampa Prep (24-1-1) into Friday's regional final, where it will host Bradenton St. Stephen's, a 2-1 winner Tuesday afternoon against Fort Myers Evangelical Christian.
With the trio of wins against their Pinellas County rival, the Terrapins have now outscored the Chargers (14-5-3) 18-4 this season. And this was a Shorecrest program that had advanced to the state final four the previous two seasons.
For the first 55 minutes of Tuesday's match, the action was as competitive as both sides had expected. Indeed, it looked much like the two schools' previous meeting in December, won 3-2 by Tampa Prep.
The Terps went ahead 1-0 in the 14th minute when freshman Connor Zwetsch headed in a cross from striker Paige Goodwin, but the Shorecrest counterattack produced an equalizer less than three minutes later when freshman forward Jenn Casey chested in a rebound off a shot by Erin McClenathan that hit the crossbar.
Casey's goal seemed to elevate the Chargers' play, but with less than four minutes to play before halftime, Zwetsch gave the momentum back to the Terps when she tallied her fifth goal of the season from just outside the 6-yard box to make it 2-1.
For much of the match, Shorecrest defender Chelsea Sherma did a good job marking Tampa Prep's scoring machine, Chelsea Klotz, who entered the game with 55 goals and 13 assists. Klotz finally broke free in the 55th minute when she collected a pass from Goodwin and blasted it in for a near-post score.
"She Sherma always does a good job marking me because she knows exactly how I play," Klotz said. "It's always a little frustrating when I play against her."
A minute after Klotz's goal, the Terps made it 4-1 when Goodwin and Klotz assisted on Megan Wall's score.
Goodwin's footwork inside the box produced an unassisted goal to make it a 5-1 Tampa Prep advantage and the Terps got a penalty kick with less than a minute to play. The kick was converted by midfielder Taylor Richardson, her sixth goal of the year.