This week's playoff surprise comes courtesy of Estero (Fla.).
Facing a 4-1 state semifinal second-half deficit, the girls from Estero appeared well on the way to being yet another victim of then Florida-South No. 1 Archbishop McCarthy (Fla.). Then everything changed. Estero pulled back on goal in the 50th minute, then Maggie Struble took control -- scoring three goals in 22 minutes as Estero stunned McCarthy 5-4.
The result led to the most dramatic change in this week's regional rankings with Estero jumping from unranked to No. 1 in Florida-South. After all, Estero beat the then top-ranked team, which twice beat Florida-South No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas, which beat then No. 3 Lourdes, which beat Nos. 4 and 5 Cypress Bay and Boca Raton.
In other playoff news last week, Brandon (Miss.) girls and Gulfport (Miss.) boys won state titles to move to No. 2 in their respective regional rankings. In Hawaii, an historic boys state final ended up with an even more historic finish. Hawaii Prep (Hawaii) and Baldwin (Hawaii) advanced to the final, marking the first time in the 44-year state tournament history that a pair of neighbor-island teams reached the state final. Then, after a series of lightning delays in overtime of a scoreless match, the teams agreed to share the championship -- which also has never happened in Hawaii. Prior to Saturday's outcome, teams from the ILH and OIA had won the previous 43 Hawaii Division I state titles.
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