FORT MYERS —Thirty minutes stood between Berkeley Prep and a second straight trip to the state semifinals. Unfortunately, that proved to be a bit too long for the Buccaneers.
Bishop Verot scored a pair of second-half goals to erase a halftime deficit to win 2-1 in Friday's Class 3A region final.
The Bucs (13-9-3) came out firing, putting constant pressure on the Vikings (24-1-2), ranked No. 22 in the nation by ESPN Rise. After squandering a handful of quality scoring chances, senior forward Auston Chen gave Berkeley a 1-0 lead in the 38th minute, getting to a deflection and blasting it past keeper Lucas Polk. But Berkeley struggled to keep the offensive pressure on in the second half with a gusty wind blowing in its face and the Vikings defenders keying on leading scorer T.J. Roehn.
"I feel like we got into their type of game tonight," Bucs coach Tim Cooper said. "They like to play the ball long and over the top. We like to get it on the ground and knock it around."
That long-ball style helped Bishop Verot in the second half, when the Vikings scored both goals. Each came off a throw-in by senior midfielder Austin Doyle that carried deep into the box aided by the wind.