LUTZ – Trailing 3-2 with 12:45 left in the opening half, Grace Owens recorded her first goal of the night for Plant. After that, the Panthers rattled off 11 consecutive goals to defeat Steinbrenner in the girls First-Round Play-In Game on Thursday night.
In the exact same round a year ago, Steinbrenner upended Plant 10-9 in a back and forth battle. But this time around the Panthers won as they improved to 17-3 and for head coach Jayne Chapman she was all smiles after the victory.
“That was the game. The kids came to play,” Chapman said. “They wanted this. They didn’t want the same feeling as last year.”
After the two sides exchanged the first four goals of the game, Anica Piniella put the Warriors (15-4) in front briefly. It seemed like it would be a similar game to last year’s one-point separation.
Then after that, Plant took advantage with three goals before the half including two straight from Audrey Steadman.
“I think they just kind of settled in and realized they could do it,” Chapman said. “They got rid of their beginning of their game jitters. They just dug in and got what they wanted.”
For Steinbrenner, Kendyl Hand had two yellow cards and exited with just over 14 minutes left in the game. Then, Madison Ulvenes picked up two yellow cards as well and the Warriors had to play a man down for the last nine minutes.
Plant led 10-3 at the time but tacked on four more goals with the man advantage.
“Anytime early in the game, there is a lot of energy and a lot of discipline. As the game progresses if you lose some of that discipline, things change,” Steinbrenner head coach Edward Kay said. “Plant played a great game. They stayed on their gameplan and came after us. They took the game from us.”
Lexi Ashby led the Panthers with four goals including three straight in the second half. Alex Schobert and Grace Owens each had three. Steadman had two goals while Heather McGheachy and Delaney Turton each had a goal.
Hand, Eva Stahlschmidt and Piniella had the three goals for Steinbrenner. The Warriors graduate 11 seniors this season.
“We had seven freshmen come out to play,” Kay said about his team’s future. “It starts with recruiting and asking girls from other teams if they want to play lacrosse. That’s how it works. We encourage as many girls to play travel ball during the summer.”
Plant will play Newsome next Tuesday in the second round as the Wolves beat Celebration 19-7 on Thursday night. The Panthers beat Newsome 15-12 on the road on Feb. 17.
“That was a back and forth game until the end. It’s going to be a good game,” Chapman said.
The Panthers move onto to the next round while Steinbrenner goes home. It’s a total flip flop of what happened last season. Both the schools love playing against one another and the rivalry should only get better from this point on.
Jake Perper is the founder of Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.