All the top seeds advanced Tuesday in the first round of District 5 playoffs.
Host Keswick Christian (14-7-1), ranked No.
7 in Class A, blasted Sarasota Christian 5-1 but may have lost leading scorer Justin Newton with an ankle injury in the second half. Keswick faces fourth-ranked Bradenton Christian (14-3-1) in Thursday's semifinals. Bradenton won 10-0 over Canterbury, knocking the Crusaders out of the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.
Lakeside Christian (9-4-2) jumped out to a 5-0 lead on Sarasota Out-of-Doors Academy, then coasted to a 6-3 win. Thursday, Lakeside faces third-ranked Bradenton St. Stephen's (14-1-1), a 10-0 victor over West Hernando Christian.
Lakeside coach Rick Abasial said his team has a chance if it steps up its defensive play. "If we're on top of our game and play all 80 minutes, the outcome could really go either way," he said.
Rob England struck first for Keswick with a goal 7 minutes into the match. Newton headed in his 24th goal 2 minutes later off a cross from Phil Caldwell. Eli Nicholson blasted the first of his two goals into the upper corner to give Keswick a 3-0 lead at the half.
"Someone else will have to step up and be the scorer if Justin cant play Thursday," Nicholson said.