CLEARWATER — Throughout the regular season, Class A, District 6 has been a two-team race between Shorecrest and Indian Rocks Christian. This week’s district tournament did nothing to change that.
Both teams eased to 4-0 semifinal wins Thursday night. No. 2 seed IRC defeated Admiral Farragut; top seed Shorecrest followed with a win over host Calvary Christian.
“It was pretty much what I expected today although there was more on the line,” Shorecrest coach Milen Gaganelov said. “I’m confident in our team’s ability and I don’t think there were any surprises here.”
In the opening game, Indian Rocks Christian (11-9-1) wasted little time scoring. Two minutes into the game, Drew Hutcheson found some space at the top of the 18-yard box and blasted a left-footed shot into the right side of the goal.
In the sixth minute, Carlos Rodriguez found himself open from 15 yards out. His shot found the back of the net to make it 2-0.
“We’ve been struggling the last couple matches of having any kind of edge or intensity,” IRC coach Ben Futoran said. “Our main goal was to be up 2-0 by the 20-minute mark. Obviously I’m proud of the fact that we did that in the first six minutes.”
The Golden Eagles had a few more opportunities in the half but couldn’t convert. That changed with 30 seconds to play. Tyler Margan raced onto a perfect through ball and chipped a shot that sailed over goalkeeper Rafael Visani and bounced into the goal.
IRC kept up the offensive pressure in the second half. With 26 minutes to play, Riley Hammil cleaned up a loose ball in front of the net and knocked it in from 5 yards out.
“It was very encouraging that we didn’t let up,” Futoran said. “We kept doing the things we’ve been working on tactically.”
Like IRC, Shorecrest (19-2-1) jumped on Calvary Christian (6-10-1) in the first half and didn’t look back.
After a few near misses, Kalju Jake Nekvasil found the net in the 18th minute. He took a pass 30 yards from goal and sprinted untouched into the 18-yard box. His shot from a tight right angle slipped into the left side of the goal and just past keeper Gage Plentovich.
In the 28th minute it became 2-0 when Chris Lovesky converted on a pass from Nekvasil. Nekvasil sent a through ball to Lovesky, who was open 5 yards in front of the goal. He redirected the ball into an open net.
Luke Peterson finished the first-half scoring when he faked shooting twice, then laced a shot from 15 yards that went into the right side.
The only second-half goal came with 11 minutes to play when Max Ford scored on a free kick from 23 yards that skidded into the right side of the goal.