SOCCER: Early goal leads Port Charlotte girls to victory

By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports

ARCADIA — Sixty-four seconds.

That’s all it took for Port Charlotte High School to exert its dominance over DeSoto County Tuesday night.

Doren Staley bent a corner kick from the right side of the field that deflected off DeSoto County goalkeeper Yessenia Castillo and into the net before the Bulldogs knew what hit them. It was the first goal for the Pirates in the match but it certainly wouldn’t be their last.

Teala Brown and Brittany McGivern also scored goals for the Pirates, who defeated the Bulldogs, 3-0, on the road in the teams’ season opener.

Port Charlotte (1-0) dominated possession throughout the match and out-shot DeSoto County (0-1) 32-4. The Bulldogs only had one real chance to score in the match and it came right before halftime when Kaylyn Castro’s shot fell short of Pirates’ goalkeeper Grace Stec. Princess Garcia was there to follow up the shot but she sent the ball flying over the net and out of bounds in stoppage time.

Otherwise, it was all Pirates all night.

“We were on the offensive half of the field for, I don’t know, it had to be 98 percent of the game I guess,” Port Charlotte coach Chip Stec said. “I wish we would have had a little bit better finishing techniques but those are things we’ve got to work on.”

The Pirates certainly had their chances, evident by their shot total on goal. Staley nearly scored again on another corner kick in the eighth minute that just missed and Brown later came up just short of a goal in the 24th minute when Cassidy Francis’ header found Brown’s foot but her shot was stopped on a diving save by Castillo.

But seconds later Brown had another opportunity and converted when Francis’ shot on goal slowed down towards the net. Brown was uncertain it would pass through for the score so she decided to leave no doubt, striking the ball to extend Port Charlotte’s lead to 2-0.

“I was just there to put it in just in case the defender decided to try and block it,” Brown said.

Staley kept the offense rolling in the second half with another corner kick. Her pass into the penalty box found McGivern in the 51st minute and the junior sent the ball flying passed Castillo to pushed Port Charlotte’s lead to 3-0.

It was one of multiple corner kicks the Pirates had on the night and Staley wishes they could have converted a few more for goals.

“I was trying to get other people in because I saw there were so many people open and there was no one who finished (besides McGivern),” Staley said. “But we were there so we just need to work on getting it in. It was a good learning experience, though.”

For a season opener, there wasn’t much to complain about on Port Charlotte’s sideline. But Stec also made note of the corner kicks after the match and knows his team needs to be more efficient with its shots when it faces North Port on Thursday night.

“I don’t know how many corner kicks we had but we had all kinds of opportunities,” Stec said. “The scoreboard read 3-0 but it should have been seven or eight more likely. The game should have been done a little bit earlier than it was but I got everybody in, I got to move some players around and I got to see where they’re going to fit in. It was a good first game for us. We’ve got North Port on Thursday and that will be a totally different ball game.”

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