Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

6A region soccer: Countryside 2, Winter Garden West Orange 1

CLEARWATER — Countryside goalkeeper Danny George could think of just one thing Friday when the head referee held up one finger in the Class 6A region semifinal against Winter Garden West Orange.

"This is going to be the longest minute I've ever had to experience," George said.

With the Cougars clinging to a 2-1 lead, George was correct as the Warriors sent every player forward, including keeper Juan Fajardo. George was peppered with one shot after another — five in the final minute — until at last the final whistle sounded, setting off a wild celebration by fans and players at midfield.

"I just didn't want anything like the Plant game to happen again," George said in reference to last season's heartbreaker in which Countryside allowed Plant to score in the final minute of regulation then in overtime in a 2-1 defeat in the region semifinals. "We've worked so hard to get back to this point and beyond, I don't think I could have taken it if the same thing happened again."

The Cougars (23-1-1), No. 9 in the ESPN Rise poll, got off to a slow start then broke through early in the second half when Taylor Cook found Nikolai Hammer open at the top of the goalmouth and Hammer easily put it past Fajardo.

Countryside's next goal with eight minutes to play typified the way the Cougars have played all season as Dalton Martinez received a pass from his brother, Jagger, and took the ball into the corner, where he chipped a cross over to the middle part of the penalty box. Derya Ekren, with his back to the goal, did a mini-bicycle kick sending the ball into the left corner of the goal.

The Warriors (13-2-1) made the game interesting 25 seconds later when Evan Cartwright put in a header off a cross on a corner kick by Camillo Villa.

"It's been tough because we've had the talent but for whatever reason, we haven't been able to capitalize on it," Countryside coach Dave Sica said. "We've faced adversity throughout the year and from season to season, but when this group decides to work, they're capable of achieving big things."

6A region soccer: Countryside 2, Winter Garden West Orange 1 02/12/11 [Last modified: Saturday, February 12, 2011 12:23am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  2. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …

  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi had to battle without his best stuff again, which is becoming a more common occurrence, leading to long at-bats — including 13 pitches to Kennys Vargas in the fifth — and running up his pitch count to 118 without finishing the sixth.

  4. Roberto Aguayo faces stiff test to keep Bucs' placekicker job


    TAMPA — The wind is never going to be at Roberto Aguayo's back when he lines up for a field goal or extra point this offseason in his quest to remain the Bucs' kicker.

    Roberto Aguayo, coming off a rookie season in which he had an NFL-worst 71 percent field-goal accuracy, made only 1 of 4 Tuesday on the narrow goalposts at One Buc Place as he begins his battle to keep his job.
  5. Rays at Twins, 2:10 p.m. Sunday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Today: at Twins

    2:10, Target Field, Minneapolis

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 760-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)