Down 4-0, HHS’ Wylie
shutout bid at 75:11
By TONY CASTRO
BROOKSVILLE – In last winter’s Class 3A, District 7 quarterfinals at Weeki Wachee, F.W. Springstead trailed Hernando, 2-1.
That’s before Spring Hill forward Erica Hiller took over.
The three-time All-Hernando County striker eventually finished with four goals as the Lady Eagles eliminated HHS, 6-3.
On Monday night’s 3A-7 lid-lifter, there was no comeback drama.
Hiller, who entered as the county’s leading scorer tied with now-injured Weeki Wachee sophomore Reilley Bain with 10 points each, buried four goals from three different angled assists pacing the Spring Hill crew to its 4-1 triumph at Tom Fisher Memorial Stadium.
The win improved SHS to 1-0-0 county, 1-0-0 3A-7, 2-1-0 overall while Hernando slipped to 0-1-0 county, 0-1-0 3A-7, 1-2-1 overall.
The visitors out-shot the hosts, 14-9, to garner its 42nd series win in 45 meetings. The Mariner Boulevard booters climbed to 42-0-3 lifetime against the Purple and Gold.
Recapping the scoring
Hiller opened the scoring at 14:25 on the first assist of the season by defender-turned-midfielder senior Alesha Tinny.
Tinny, a three-time All-County defender, was switched to midfield due to early-season injuries to seniors Ava Gomez (concussion protocol/she was hit in the face with the ball) and Merriel Reyes.
Ironically, the assist was Tinny’s first-ever in four winters.
At 29:15, senior Taylor Hale dished to Hiller, who slammed shot inside the near post past HHS keeper Rachel Becker, 2-0. The assist was Hale’s first of the season.
With 36:29, Hiller stole a sloppy Hernando pass and went 1 vs. 1 versus Becker and buried her third goal, 3-0.
Two minutes into the second half, HHS sophomore forward Giana Huber ripped a shot that clanked off goal post.
At 60:19, Hiller tucked in her fourth goal of the night – her county-leading eighth of the season – on an assist by junior Taylor Piesek, 4-0.
Piesek, who scored a pair of goals last winter, had also never been credited with an assist.
At 75:11, HHS sophomore Bricyn Wylie gobbled up an assist by Anna Babione and tucked in her third goal of the season to spoil SHS junior goalkeeper Alyson Burzumato’s bid at her first shutout this winter, 4-1.
Burzumato finished with three saves compared to Becker’s five.
Hale, a marking back, credited her defense for the initial district nod.
“I’d give our defense a “7” out of 10,” revealed the 17-year-old Hale. “Hernando came out strong and didn’t give up.
“Tonight was an important win because it’s our first district game,” added Hale. “I thought we passed well, but we could’ve communicated a little better.”
“Our defensive effort was good,” beamed the 18-year-old Tinny. “Hernando’s a good team; they didn’t give up.”
On the win’s significance, “It felt good. I thought No. 13 (Hiller) played awesome. We’ve got Weeki Wachee next.”
“This is my senior year,” explained Hiller, 17. “Every game is important. I thought we all played our hardest. Hernando is not a bad team. We can’t let up. We’ve gotta play every match like it’s the woman’s national title game.”
On which of her goals left the biggest impression, “On the steal, I pivoted and hit it well,” smiled Hiller.
Second-year SHS mentor Jimmy Struble wasn’t totally impressed.
“This wasn’t our finest game. Playing on a Monday, especially after having no school on Friday with no practice hurts,” said Struble. “Still, the kids played hard. The effort was there. I can’t take anything away from either team.
“… Hernando deserves credit. They never gave up and played hard to the end.”
Singling out a couple players, “Hale, to her credit, has been quietly effective. Tonight, the girls were a little too offensive minded. We made a lot of little mistakes that need to get cleaned up.”
On Hiller, “She’ll get her goals. I hate denying her goal scoring opportunities,” admitted Struble. “She’s one of the fastest girls out here. She works and works on her game.”
Springstead 4, Hernando 1
Goals – SPG: Hiller (4). HER: Wylie.
Assists – SPG: Tinny, Hale, Piesek. HER: Babione.
Shots on goal – SPG: 14. HER: 9.
Saves – SPG: Burzumato (3). HER: Becker (5).
Yellow cards – SPG: Hiller (dissent). HER: Theodore (unsporting behavior).
Blue cards – none.
Red cards – none.
Records – Springstead (1-0-0 county, 1-0-0 3A-7, 2-1-0 overall), Hernando (0-1-0 county, 0-1-0 3A-7, 1-2-1 overall),