MULBERRY — The Clearwater Central Catholic boys soccer team scored twice late in the first half, then played great defense the rest of the way to defeat Mulberry 2-0 in a Class 3A region quarterfinal in front of about 100 fans at the Phosphate Bowl on Thursday night.
With the victory, the Marauders advance to Tuesday's 7 p.m. region semifinal match hosted by Berkeley Prep, a 5-0 winner over Frostproof.
Mulberry, coming off its second straight district title last week, ends its season with a 20-2-2 record.
The Marauders almost scored one minute into the match, but the shot was just left of the goal. After a few good chances, they finally scored with 3 minutes left before halftime as Thomas Crouch knocked a header into the right side of the net off a corner kick.
Clearwater Central Catholic scored 90 seconds later as Raymond Fox scored on a shot from right in front of the net.
In the second half, the Panthers took a lot of good shots on goal, but they could not find the back of the net.
"They have a great defense over there," Mulberry coach Tim Goehring said. "For whatever reason, we came out flat tonight."
The play of the night for Mulberry came midway through the first half as Panthers goalie Fabian Guillen made a stop out of the goal box and Damaso Pineda outran the Marauders to clear the ball and prevent the first goal of the night.
"We outplayed them in the second half, but there are two halves in a soccer game," Goehring added.