By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PUNTA GORDA —There really is no stopping Charlotte High School’s Caitlyn Lowery.
Opposing teams can only hope to contain her.
Palmetto did neither Thursday night, as Lowery struck for five goals in a 6-3 win for the Tarpons.
She registered her fourth goal of the night in the 29th minute, which technically was the game-winner, but gave Charlotte a 4-1 lead at the time.
The two teams stayed quiet for majority of the second half, but when Lowery scored her fifth of the night, and 24th of the season, in the 72nd minute, the Tigers put a pair of shots behind Tarpon goalkeeper Cheyenne Gaudemer a few minutes later to bring the match to its final score.
Gaudemer wasn’t tested too often, but did pick up five saves. Her counterpart, Morgan Collins, was facing shot after shot all night, making 13 saves. Many of which were from point-blank range.
Lowery had the most shots of any Tarpon (5-4-1), as she consistently used her speed to get separation from a Tiger (0-7-1) defender giving her an open look. But according to Carr, her wheels aren’t even her best asset.
“Caitlyn’s strengths are much more than her speed,” Carr said. “Her biggest asset is that she can finish. At any angle, it doesn’t matter. Caitlyn is a finisher and that’s her strongest component, and that’s what makes her so dangerous.”
Carr was glad to see other players get in on the scoring when Sydney Kruger found the back of the net on a shot from near the middle of the pitch, which bounced over the head of Collins in the 35th minute.
“That’s going to be what we work on in practice this Saturday night,” Carr said. “We need to work on getting more people to score, but that’s something we’ll have up our sleeve next week and moving on.”
Lowery’s first goal came in the third minute, less than 60 seconds after Alexandra Mercer gave Palmetto a quick 1-0 lead. Lowery stole the ball from a Tiger defender and then rocketed a shot to her left.
“Last week against North Port she had five shots and she had four goals,” Carr said. “That’s an 80 percent chance she’s going to score. It’s amazing.”
Avery Carlton found Lowery on a long pass in the ninth minute near mid-pitch, and Lowery did the rest of the work herself as she streaked up the sideline, got behind a defender, and gave her team a lead they would not relinquish.
The Tarpons had 23 shots on the night, and only allowed 12 Palmetto.