Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Howell Scores 2 to Lead Falcons

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Howell Scores 2 to Lead Falcons

Article excerpt

BRADENTON

GIRLS SOCCER: Saint Stephen's locks up top seed in district

Hannah Howell could feel the difference with her teammates.

"We were definitely nervous. This was the first game we were really nervous for," the Saint Stephen's striker said. "We have a local rivalry with ODA. We came out so fired up."

Howell calmed the Falcons with a pair of goals, including one 28 minutes into the match, and Gabrielle Woodruff and the Saint Stephen's defense did the rest in a 2-0 whitewash of Out-of-Door Academy in a key Class 1A-District 8 match Thursday afternoon at Turner Fields.

The Falcons improved to 9-1-2 overall and concluded district play 6-0-1 to earn the top seed. The Thunder fell to 7-1-2 and 3-1-1 in the district with two matches remaining.

"I told the girls it was a fun game, because they're nervous and excited and we're nervous and excited," said Saint Stephen's coach Eric Howell, Hannah's father. "We know they are a good team this year. We like that. It's what you play for. There are four or five games a year you get up and ready for."

The Thunder bottled up the middle and forced Howell to the wings, the far wings.

"The only spot I could find was literally the goal line," she said. "So it was like, 'I'll take it.' "

Working against four defenders and starting goalie Nicole Hoffman, who came out to challenge the play, Howell converted from a near impossible angle to get Saint Stephen's on the board.

"I don't think I could have done it twice," she said. "But I'm glad it happened."

"It was good she noticed that," Coach Howell said. "Nicole Hoffman had four great saves, and that keeps them in the game."

Because of cramping in both calves, Howell moved to stopper for the remainder of the first half.

"I couldn't run," she said.

The halftime break helped, and she was back in her forward position for the second half. …

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