Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spartans Reach Title Game; St. Johns Country Day Does Not Allow a Shot on Goal in the Victory

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spartans Reach Title Game; St. Johns Country Day Does Not Allow a Shot on Goal in the Victory

Article excerpt

Byline: FRANCINE KING

TAMPA - The St. Johns Country Day girls soccer team didn't forget what it felt like to pack up early at last year's final four. Coach Mike Pickett made sure of it.

"We had a hard fight last year and lost in double overtime to [Delray Beach] American Heritage in just a great high school soccer game," Pickett said of last season's 1-0 state semifinal loss. "It was a tough one to lose. We've had those pictures up in our locker room for a year. They see it every time they walk in to change."

This year, Pickett's Spartans made sure they'll leave the Class 2A final four with better memories after posting a 4-0 semifinal victory over West Palm Beach King's Academy on Wednesday at the University of Tampa's Pepin Stadium.

St. Johns Country Day will have an opportunity to avenge last year's loss to American Heritage at 5 p.m. today when the two teams meet in the state title game. American Heritage advanced with a 2-1 win in penalty kicks over Tampa Prep.

SJCD (24-2-2) scored three goals in the first 15 minutes, all on assists from freshman Carson Pickett, to take a comfortable lead against King's Academy.

"We have a lot of young girls, so we had to really take it to the next level ... because almost half our team hasn't been here before," Carson Pickett said. "We knew we had to get the first couple goals early, so that they would just settle down, because they were really nervous before the game."

Early certainly describes the Spartans' first goal. Just 1 1/2 minutes into the match, Pickett served a corner kick into the goal area, and Tyler Law ripped the into the back of the net.

"Once you score that first goal, you just have that feeling that you know we've got this, and it's our game," Law said.

From there, the Spartans' possession style wore down the Lions (22-5), who never registered a shot on goal. Erin Standish and Justine Quick led SJCD's defense in posting its 22nd shutout of the season. …

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