WESLEY CHAPEL — Pasco gained the upper hand in the Class 4A, District 7 race with Wednesday night’s 3-1 win at Wesley Chapel. That gave the Pirates a sweep of the two-game season series and avenged last season’s district semifinal loss to the Wildcats.
“These district games are for positioning,” Pasco coach Barry Grayling said. “But come district time, it’s 0-0.”
Pasco had played in seven straight district finals before last season.
All of the scoring came in the first half with Pasco (9-0) striking early to take a 2-0 lead just 15 minutes into the game. Daniel Cano scored in the seventh minute off a nice pass from Jose Flores. Wesley Chapel goalkeeper Alex McGough got his fingers on the ball, but not enough to keep it out of the net.
In the 15th minute, Eric Garcia scored the first of his two goals when he took a through ball from Matthew Boyle and banked in a low shot off the far right post.
Wesley Chapel’s lone goal came three minutes later and cut the deficit in half. Paul Gordon beat keeper Angel Garcia with a high shot from close range. That score came moments after Garcia made a sprawling save on Zach Mine, who came in on a partial breakaway.
Garcia, Pasco’s scoring leader with 16 goals and 42 points, capped the scoring in the 28th minute. The senior forward converted a pass from Daniel Corona, who sprinted down the left side and found Garcia in front of the net.
There was no scoring for the rest of the game, thanks in large part to several acrobatic saves by McGough, who stoned Dillon Dunbar on a header, covered up a one-timer by Garcia and smothered Flores’ point-blank attempt.
Grayling lauded the effort of McGough, who made 11 saves.
“If it weren’t for their keeper, it would have been a lot more (goals),” Grayling said. “He played real well. I’ll give him his due.”
At 8-2, Wesley Chapel’s only losses are to Pasco.