ZEPHYRHILLS – The Nature Coast Sharks easily handled Zephyrhills Monday night with a 7-0 shutout to remain close to Pasco in 3A, District 7 standings. The Sharks, now 8-2-1 are undefeated in the district, as is Pasco at 8-0-3. The two are scheduled to collide on January 16th at Pasco in a game that will most likely decide the district champion.
Zephyrhills (0-10) came out to play in the first half as they held the Sharks to just one goal in the opening session. Jaxon Soto opened the scoring at the 10-minute mark on a free kick from 20 yards out for the Sharks.
In the second half the Bulldogs just couldn’t hold off the Nature Coast attack any longer. The Sharks struck twice quickly at the 8-minute and 10-minute mark on goals by Tony Howard and Drew Kelly. Freshman Thomas Difrank added another off a corner kick at the 13-minute marks of the half for a commanding 4-0 Sharks advantage.
Vinny Stulec was tripped in the box just one minute later and awarded a penalty kick the reached the back of the net at the 14-minute mark.
With 6 minutes remaining in the contest Howard scored his second of the night on a breakaway down the left side and just one minute later completed the Hat Trick with his third goal of the game.
Alex Brezina and Conner Pullen both added assists, but it was Howard with 3 goals and 1 assist (7 points) that lead the scoring for Nature coast.
Nature Coast will return to their home field Thursday night when they take on Mitchell (5-4-3) in a non-conference game, while the Bulldogs travel to Sunlake (9-1-2) Tuesday night for another tough match-up.