BRADENTON — Tampa Prep and St. Stephen's are used to playing each other this time of year. For the third straight year the foes were meeting with a final four berth on the line. But unlike previous years, the Falcons came out on top Friday with a 1-0 victory.
"Last year we were able to come back after being down 2-0," Terrapins coach Doug Smith said. "We couldn't do that this time."
Tampa Prep goalie Drew Goldsberry and Chandler Whidden of St. Stephen's each had five saves to keep the match scoreless most of the game.
The Falcons had the first chance to score in the 11th minute when Ryley Delgado headed a shot that Goldsberry saved but directed right to Falcons forward Kyle Bellingar, who shot the ball over the crossbar.
Tampa Prep had five chances to score in the first half. Whidden stopped a deep free kick from Jake Peterson and Wes Server put a nice shot on goal that went just wide.
The defending champion Terrapins' best chance came in the 29th minute Anthony Baumann crossed a pass to Server, who beat Whidden and shot was stopped bay a Falcons defender.
"Sometimes that's part of the game of soccer," Smith said. "We had chances and didn't put them away. They put away one of theirs."
St. Stephen's scored the only goal in the 74th minute as midfielder Adam Vining broke through the Terrapins' defense and threaded a pass to Delgado, who put the ball past Goldsberry.