Girls soccer: Champions League semifinals preview — Jan. 12, 2023

The bay area version of the Champions League is based on the popular tournament for professional club teams in Europe. The local event features the top high school girls soccer teams from the Tampa Bay area in a tournament at the start of the season. 

The semifinals are Saturday at Palm Harbor University. The final is the same night at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg. 

Here is the outlook for the two semifinal matches.

Berkeley Prep (8-3) vs. Palm Harbor University (9-1-1), 9 a.m.

The host Hurricanes, who won the Champions League last year, are ranked ninth in Class 7A by MaxPreps. They are coming off their first tie of the season against rival East Lake on Thursday. Defense is Palm Harbor University’s strength. The Hurricanes have allowed just eight goals all season. Stifling opponents also has been key for the Buccaneers, who are ranked sixth in 3A by MaxPreps. But Berkeley Prep also needs to find ways to score. After all, the Buccaneers were shutout in their three losses this season.  

Stat leaders
CategoryBerkeley PrepPalm Harbor University
GoalsIzzy Youssef, 8Kassie Fragale, 12
AssistsIzzy Youssef, 3Lindsay Nicholson, 7
Goals against averageElle Hunter, 0Alyssa Tutas, 0

Sunlake (16-1) vs. Cypress Creek (13-0-1), 11 a.m.

A top-notch matchup between a pair of state semifinalists from a year ago. Each team is ranked third in their respective classification (the Seahawks in 6A and the Coyotes in 5A) and among the top in the state by MaxPreps. Sunlake has won 13 straight games The top two scorers are Campbell Taylor and Inna Neves, who have combined for 46 of the Seahawks’ 83 goals this season. Cypress Creek’s only tie came against rival Land O’ Lakes in November. In their last 11 victories, the Coyotes have outscored their opponents by a combined 64-9. 

Stat leaders
CategorySunlakeCypress Creek
GoalsCampbell Taylor, 30Allison Souers, 35
AssistsCampbell Taylor, 17Avery Blevins, 15
Goals against averageGrace Boostrom, 0Darcy Pittman, 1,558