Region boys soccer: Venice 4, Northeast 2
VENICE – The start of Tuesday’s Class 4A region final could not have gone better for Northeast.
Milijan Milic scored within the first five minutes, giving the Vikings a 1-0 lead.
Venice countered with a goal. No matter. Minutes later, Northeast took the lead again on Ervin Ikanovic’s 35th goal of the season.
Then everything changed. Juan Martinez was issued his second yellow card with about five minutes left in the first half, forcing the Vikings to play a man down the rest of the game. The Indians took advantage, scoring just before the half to tie the score, then adding two second-half goals to beat Northeast 4-2.
“When you come to the region final you want to play with 11 guys,” Vikings coach Thomas Blauvelt said. “That’s all I ask. If they beat us, they beat us. That’s fine. Let’s play it straight up. That first yellow was questionable.”
Throughout the postseason, Northeast (14-3-2) was able to rally in the second half thanks to an explosive offensive attack. But Northeast was stymied and forced to play most of the second half on its side of the field.
“It’s hard to get over a loss like this because I feel if we play them 10 times, we win eight of them,” Blauvelt said. “I've got to have 11 players to do that. Respect to Venice. They beat us.”
The Vikings won conference and district titles and advanced to the region final for the first time in Blauvelt’s 18th and final season with the program.
“I’ll be proud tomorrow,” Blauvelt said. “Right now, this one just hurts.”