LARGO — Vedad Delic capitalized on Boca Ciega’s only scoring chance in the second half as the Pirates defeated Osceola 1-0 on Friday in the Class 3A, District 10 championship game.
Boca Ciega (16-5) avenged a 2-1 lost to Osceola in the regular season. The Warriors dominated much of the possession and scoring chances throughout the game, but were thwarted each time by Pirates goalkeeper Josh Gentile. After time expired, the Pirates’ players rushed the field to congratulate Gentile.
"He’s worked his tail off in the offseason to get better," said Pirates coach Colby Bidwell. "He’s improved every facet of his game from his reactions to the way he reads the ball and he was excellent tonight and we needed him to be."
Gentile actually started the scoring sequence with a strong throw-in down the right side to Connor Shinholser, who sent a long pass to Delic.
Delic was able to fight off an Osceola defender and won a challenge against Warriors goalkeeper Gabriel Kroja to score in the open net with 13:30 remaining.
"I told them at the water break that our chance was going to come from the right side," Bidwell said. "In a game like this where they held possession for so long, we just needed 10 seconds to score a goal and that’s what happened."
The Warriors’ (14-6) chances were numerous. Nathan To was stopped by Gentile in a one-on-one after a strong run and Gentile made the additional save on Harley Myers, who tried to score on a follow-up midway through the first half.
To had a free kick with 10 minutes left in the first half that hit the crossbar. Gentile stopped To on a blast from about 30 yards out with less than 18 minutes remaining in the second half, and Leighton Levering directed his header just wide of the goal with 5:30 left in what would prove to be the Warriors’ final scoring chance.