By Chuck Ballaro, Sun correspondent
PORT CHARLOTTE — Augusta Purvis blasted a shot from 30 yards out in the 62nd minute for what proved to be the game-winning goal as the North Port High School girls soccer team rallied for a 3-1 victory Tuesday over rival Port Charlotte in a non-district match at the Pirate Cove.
Purvis made a steal near midfield and drove down the left side before driving a shot over the head of Pirates goalkeeper Grace Stec and under the crossbar to break a 1-1 tie.
“The girls played well and are playing together as a team,” said North Port coach Bill Callan. “Port Charlotte was smart. They bunkered in and made it very difficult for us to attack.”
The Bobcats (10-5) outshot the Pirates 21-9 and held possession of the ball for nearly 95 percent of the first half. Yet found themselves tied 1-1 at the half thanks to a sneaky (but legal) play on Port Charlotte’s part.
Arianne Guerra got the Bobcats on top in the 11th minute with a shot past Stec that clanked off the right post and trickled in.
North Port continued to possess the ball until Port Charlotte finally countered at the end of the half, leading to a foul on Pirate forward Megan Porto and a free kick outside the penalty area.
North Port expected to be set up by the officials 10 yards away. Instead, Porto quick kicked, catching the Bobcats and goalkeeper Jordann Kinkin napping. The ball sailed over Kinkin and into the net to tie the game in the 40th minute.
“We needed to make sure we were in position and I think the girls were expecting to play with the whistle, but that’s not how free kicks work,” Callan said. “If you have possession, you put it down, you take the shot.”
Energized by the late goal, Port Charlotte (10-9) got more aggressive in the second half and actually ended up with a 3-2 edge in corner kicks, but the Bobcats were just too tough.
Three minutes after Purvis’ goal, Alexis Abene added insurance when Isabelle Rogers drove deep and centered it off Stec, who was playing the pass, leaving Abene with an empty net to shoot at.
Port Charlotte coach Chip Stec said the plan was to neutralize North Port’s speed by squeezing in defensively, and it almost worked.
“We were hoping to hold them off because they have a great team. I thought after that goal it would be great to hold them to 1-1, but it didn’t happen,” Stec said.