TAMPA — Before Monday’s game against previously unbeaten Land O’Lakes, Tampa Prep coach Doug Smith did not exactly come clean with his players.
“I didn’t tell them that (the Gators) were undefeated,” Smith said. “I just said they needed a loss.”
The defending Class 2A state champion Terrapins took that message to heart, snapping Land O’Lakes’ season-opening 13-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory in the second round of the 17th annual High School Soccer Invitational.
In another second-round game at the Shimberg Sports Complex, Wharton lost 4-1 to Fort Myers Bishop Verot. Pool play continues today with the four division winners advancing to Wednesday’s playoff round.
Land O’Lakes carried play for most of the first half, but Tampa Prep got on the scoreboard early. In the fifth minute, Destin Lyons found the back of the net off a throw-in from teammate Jordan Hayes.
Land O’Lakes goalkeeper Kody Parker came up with a stellar save midway through the second half to keep it a one-goal game. Parker leaped to his right, snaring a rising blast off the foot of Jake Peterson from just outside the penalty box.
Peterson contributed to Tampa Prep’s next goal, passing to Hayes, who lifted a high blooper over an onrushing Parker from the left side.
The Gators cut the deficit in half in the 70th minute on Miguel Laliberte’s goal. Laliberte beat Tampa Prep keeper Brad Goldsberry to a loose ball near the right post and tucked a low shot just inside the far post.
“We didn’t play well enough to beat a good Tampa Prep team,” Land O’Lakes coach Mark Pearson said.
In the Wharton game, Felipe DeSousa had his team’s lone goal, scoring his first of the season on a free kick to tie the game at 1 in the first half.
The Wildcats then allowed three straight goals.