Playing five games in three days was so hectic, the Plant City High girls soccer team barely had time to enjoy a historic victory.
Plant City finished second in the Sarasota Holiday Classic played Dec. 17-18, getting in four games in just 27 hours.
And oh yeah, the night before the Raiders beat Durant - for the first time ever.
A freshman-loaded Raider team is coming of age quickly. With just a few weeks left until the playoffs, Plant City has secured only the second winning season in program history. A second trip to the playoffs looks like a strong possibility.
Durant's long run as the Raiders' superior appears to be over, based on the Dec. 16 game at Raider Stadium. Plant City won 4-0.
"Before the game our athletic director (Traci Durrance), once she told the girls Plant City had never beaten Durant, they were ready to go," first-year Raider head coach Justin Throneburg said. "We came out, scored in the first minute and really dominated."
The victory means Plant City will be tied with East Bay for the second seed in District 5A-8, led by powerhouse Newsome. East Bay led Plant City 2-0 on Dec. 14 before the Raiders rallied to tie 2-2, a result as significant as any win on the Raiders' schedule this year.
Two nights later came the Durant clash, then the Raiders were off to the tournament in Sarasota where they beat Dade Christian 1-0 and fell to Wharton 2-0. A 3-0 defeat of host Sarasota High put the Raiders in the championship game thanks to a tiebreaker advantage over another team that went 2-1, Miami Killian.
In the finals, Plant City lost to Wharton again by the same 2-0 score, but there was a mitigating factor.
"It was our fifth game in three days. We sat out five of our starters," Throneburg said. "They were just mentally as well as physically exhausted. You could just see it in their faces."
But Throneburg was happy he was able to get a lot of playing time for key Raiders reserves.
Ericka Lott had two goals against Durant and fellow freshman Stephanie Galloway scored two against Sarasota. Through the tournament the Raiders had a record of 10-4-1 and Galloway had 15 goals. Lott scored 12 and Diana Corzine, also a ninth-grader, had 11.
Tori Nizamoff, another freshman standout, was fourth on the team in scoring thanks to her 13 assists. Kelsey Brevick - yes, a freshman - has eight goals as well.
Plant City's boys team also earned a big win over Durant, which came in leading the district thanks to a previous victory over Newsome. But the Raiders beat their rival 3-1 to take over first place.
Two nights prior to that Plant City was pushed by visiting East Bay on a Dec. 14 night when the temperature was 32 degrees. East Bay led 1-0 through 60 minutes when Raiders head coach Steven Rossiter moved Jose Salgado to forward and he scored moments later. A.J. Black added a penalty kick for the winning goal.
Jan. 15 is the last day of the regular season. Next up for Plant City is a Tuesday visit from Strawberry Crest.