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Region boys soccer: East Lake changes its luck

LITHIA — For the entire second half of its Class 5A region final with East Lake, Newsome was searching for a big break. And in the 77th minute, the Wolves got it.

With just more than three minutes to go, Newsome forward Eric Lint was tripped in the box, and Jake Van Der Luit, one of the Wolves' most prolific scorers, was awarded a penalty kick.

But just like all the other chances the Wolves had to tie the game in the second half, the kick failed, bouncing off the crossbar and out. East Lake held on to win the game 1-0 and advance to the state final four.

"It's disappointing no matter what, but we had our chances," Newsome coach Allen Ware said. "We just didn't convert."

Newsome was aggressive from the start, but a change in the midfield, East Lake defender Daniel Mahler said, gave the Eagles (17-2-1) some life. And for the rest of the first half, East Lake controlled the game.

The Eagles outshot Newsome 5-1 before finally getting on the board in the 38th minute, when Pierre Goris took a cross and slipped the ball past Newsome (17-6-1) goalkeeper Nate Hodges.

In the second half, Newsome came out with a vengeance, peppering the goal with shots, searching for the equalizer. But unlike its performance against Steinbrenner in Tuesday's semifinal, East Lake's defense was nearly impenetrable.

"I did change my goalkeeper, which was probably not the smartest thing to do, to be honest," East Lake coach Alex Stenson said. "I just felt we were getting a little complacent, so I wanted to make sure our defenders were awake. When you change the goalkeeper behind them, suddenly there a bit more focus and concentration."

The risk paid off for the Eagles. Van Der Luit, who scored a pair of goals in Newsome's quarterfinal win against Orlando Timber Creek, had multiple shots in the second half. But they were contested by a scrappy Eagles defense and ultimately missed the frame.

Newsome, which outscored its opponents 36-4 since its last loss on Dec. 21, hadn't really had trouble scoring all season long. But in the biggest game to date, it was a lack of offense that cut the Wolves' season short.

"It became an issue. I didn't think it'd be a 1-0 game," Ware said. "But hats off to (East Lake), though. They deserved it."

2A: Bucs master art of winning close ones

FORT MYERS — Berkeley Prep had a simple plan coming into Friday's Class 2A region final at Bishop Verot: Keep it close and find a way.

That strategy resulted in the Buccaneers' third consecutive trip to the final four as sophomore Lance Esposito's goal in the 73rd minute provided the only scoring in a 1-0 victory over the previously unbeaten Vikings.

"We've played these kind of close games all season long," said Berkeley Prep coach Tim Cooper, whose team survived its 10th one-goal contest of the season Friday. "I think that really helped up stay comfortable tonight."

The Bucs (10-10-5) controlled the action early, with four quality shots in the game's first 20 minutes, but couldn't find the net. Bishop Verot (18-1-3), which entered the game having outscored opponents 76-9, turned up the heat in the final 10 minutes of the first half.

The Vikings had their best chance at getting on the scoreboard in the 35th minute, but Berkeley Prep senior goalkeeper Ben Milliken's diving stop on a header by Bishop Verot sophomore Cullen Duquette kept the game scoreless.

The Bucs returned to their offensive dominance in the second half and finally cashed in when Esposito leaped to head senior Austin Iglehart's 53-yard indirect kick past sophomore keeper Brandon Doyle and into the lower right corner of the net.

"I'm really proud of these guys; they deserve it," Cooper said. "It's coming together for us at the right time."

A: Patriots rally, then falter in second OT

TAMPA — After squandering a late three-goal lead during Friday's Class A region championship, Bradenton St. Stephen's defeated Carrollwood Day 4-3 when freshman Jonathan Boyd netted the winner with 29 seconds remaining in the second overtime.

The Falcons (14-1-1) led 3-0 with 15 minutes remaining in regulation before the Patriots mounted a furious rally capped by Austin Ham's equalizer with 73 seconds remaining.

St. Stephen's took a 2-0 lead early in the first half when Boyd's cross was knocked in by a CDS player, and Matthew Jones booted in a rebound from his own penalty kick. And when Jeremy Jackman scored from about 25 yards out less than five minutes into the second half, the Falcons' eighth region title and first since 2010 looked all but assured.

The Patriots' comeback began when John Frost's header made it 3-1 with about 15 minutes remaining. And after the Falcons were called for a hand ball in the goal box, Miguel Ridruejo's goal off a penalty kick trimmed Carrollwood's deficit to 3-2 with just over three minutes to play.

3A: Jesuit fell 3-0 on the road at Merritt Island.

Times correspondent Dan Deluca contributed to this report, which uses information from the Herald.

State soccer

At Eastern Florida State College, Melbourne

2A: Berkeley Prep vs. Eastside-Bishop Moore, Wednesday

Region boys soccer: East Lake changes its luck 02/07/14 [Last modified: Friday, February 7, 2014 11:59pm]

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