Sunday, February 25, 2018
Sports

Region boys soccer: Steinbrenner runs out of postseason rallies vs. East Lake

LUTZ — It had been there before not even two weeks ago. Steinbrenner, back up against the wall, overcame a man-down situation and an East Lake lead to force overtime and snatch its first district title away from the Eagles.

Tuesday in the Warriors' home-field rematch with East Lake in a Class 5A region semifinal, the Eagles took the lead twice in the second half. But Steinbrenner scored three goals in a nine-minute span to force overtime.

This time around, however, the Warriors — who had slipped by in overtime in their past two games — didn't have enough late-game magic left to come out on top, and East Lake won 4-3 after an Alejandro Gonzalez golden goal in the third minute of overtime.

East Lake coach Alex Stenson said he was proud of his boys for getting the win against a team he once called the best in the state, but he could hardly believe how they earned it.

"We just didn't kill them off when we could have and should have," a relieved Stenson said, bringing his hands to his head. "Oh my god, I can't get over that one."

It could have been easier. After goals from Pierre Goris and Dino Papadopoulos, the Eagles (16-2-1) took a 2-0 lead just three minutes after halftime. For an Eagles' defense that had been nearly impenetrable all night, the second goal was almost as good as a game-winner come early. Maybe against another team, but not Steinbrenner (17-2-1).

The Warriors, now used to coming back from behind, scored a goal in the 66th minute off a Blake Wilson penalty kick, and again in the 67th when Andres Saenz scored off an assist from Zachary Yarish.

That tie wouldn't last, as Daniel Mahler slipped one right through Steinbrenner goalkeeper Christian Knight's hands five minutes later. Steinbrenner got yet another equalizer when Noah Keene turned a pass from Austin Labban into a goal with just three minutes to play.

Three minutes into the 10-minute overtime half, Gonzalez' goal, his first of the season, ended the Warriors' postseason run.

"We're evenly matched. East Lake's one of the best team's in the state of Florida, and so are we," Steinbrenner coach Chad Ebright said. "You just fight. That's all it is."

Class 5A

Newsome 2, Orlando Freedom 0: Newsome posted its second straight shutout in regionals, defeating Orlando Freedom on the road. The Wolves have outscored opponents 18-2 since districts.

"Defensively, we played really well," Newsome coach Allen Ware said. "We withstood their pressure. They're relentless."

The Patriots (17-2-1) outshot the Wolves 17-13 with Newsome goalkeeper Nate Hodges coming up with two point-blank saves in the first half and a diving save to his right in the second to preserve the shutout.

Jake Van Der Luit, who missed all but seven regular-season games due to injury and returned for the district tournament, scored the only goal of the first half. The junior midfielder took a through ball from forward Eric Lint, deked a defender to his left and tucked a low shot into the far corner in the 39th minute for his 15th goal of the season.

Newsome (17-4-2) got its second goal off another key play by Van Der Luit. Lint took a corner kick from the left side in the 76th minute and Van Der Luit headed a shot off the left post, but Jacob Chadwell kicked in the rebound past keeper Brayan Arce.

Class 3A

Jesuit 7, Tarpon Springs 0: Five Tigers scored and the defense blanked another opponent as Jesuit cruised past visiting Tarpon Springs.

The Tigers (15-4-3) have been scoring goals in piles, racking up 34 strikes in the past five matches. Jesuit has defeated three of those opponents by the 8-0 mercy rule during the five-match winning streak.

The Tigers got on the board in unconventional fashion in the 13th minute when Jacob Starnes' long throw into the box bounced high off the turf and was tipped in by Spongers' keeper Vasili Makryllos. Starnes then flashed through the box to volley in a corner service from Ian Gutierrez in the 20th minute and Connar Lufkin put the Tigers up 3-0 two minutes later on a free kick from about 20 yards out.

"We've been getting up early and not letting off the pedal," Starnes said. "It's more of a team effort. Even the defenders are pushing up and getting crosses and headers."

For the fourth consecutive match, Jesuit did not allow a single shot on frame. It also marked Jesuit's fifth consecutive shutout.

Kurt Sierra, Daryian Flores, Alejandro Cartaya and Lufkin rounded out the scoring for Jesuit.

Class 2A

Berkeley Prep 2, Clearwater Central Catholic 1: Berkeley Prep was 4-10-5 at the start of districts but has since won five straight, the latest Tuesday's home win over rival Clearwater Central Catholic.

Berkeley Prep faces Bishop Verot in Friday's region final, marking the fifth time in the past seven seasons they have met in the playoffs.

"This is kind of the same thing we go through each year," said Bucs coach Tim Cooper, who has guided the program to seven straight region final appearances. "Our record is rough but most of the teams we played are still alive in the playoffs. That schedule has prepared us."

The playoff run has been keyed by a stellar defense, which has allowed just three goals in the past five games. In the first half of Tuesday's game, the offense did its part as Quinton Kauchick and Kyle Dagostino each scored to give Berkeley Prep a 2-0 lead.

In the second half, the Marauders tried to rally by pushing the pace but couldn't convert on their chances. That was due mostly to the play of Buccaneer goalkeeper Ben Milliken, who thwarted several shots.

Class A

Carrollwood Day 2, Shorecrest 1 (4-2 PKs): Carrollwood Day coach Jim Harte has seen enough of his team this season to know it couldn't play offensively against Shorecrest in Tuesday's Class A region semifinal. The only way to have a chance against the Chargers, which the Patriots had lost to twice in the regular season, was to play defensively and hope for the best.

The strategy worked.

Despite being outshot 19-6, Carrollwood Day hung around and beat Shorecrest on penalty kicks.

"We took a very conservative approach in this game," Harte said. "We just fell back and let them come at us. Our team followed that game plan for all 100 minutes. We didn't get impatient. Last time we played them we tried to press them and they sliced right through us. We learned a lesson. Don't poke the bear."

The Patriots (18-4-1) managed a corner kick with 15 minutes left. Spencer Peek lofted the kick into the box, and John Frost headed it in to tie the score. "All we needed was one," Harte said.

Staff writers Rodney Page and Bob Putnam, and correspondents Steve Lee and Brandon Wright contributed to this report.

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