LAKEWOOD RANCH — The Lakewood Ranch High boys soccer team finally broke through against Riverview High.
Sam Leavy sent a perfect ball to Drew Clark, who scored the only goal of the game midway through the second half helping the Mustangs to a 1-0 victory over the Rams in the Class 7A-Region 2 semifinals in front of a nice crowd Saturday night at Lakewood Ranch High.
The Mustangs held an 18-2 edge in shots and controlled the ball for most of the match.
“The kids played an unbelievable game,” Lakewood Ranch coach Vito Bavaro said. “We owned the game. For a 1-0 score, what a fantastic game to watch. At this point, all you have to do is get one more to move forward.”
The teams played to a scoreless tie during the regular season.
The top-seeded Mustangs (18-1-1) move into the region final 7 p.m. Wednesday against third-seeded Tampa Plant, a 2-1 winner over Tarpon Springs East Lake.
Reaching the regional semis was the furthest the Rams (12-2-4) advanced in the playoffs in 10 years, Riverview coach Ed Stroop said. “It’s an accomplishment for these boys,” he said. “Hopefully, this is the start of a trend for the future.”
Lakewood Ranch is 17-4-3 against Riverview since 2012, but the Rams have a tie and a win in the past two outings before Saturday. Previously the Mustangs had won 16 straight.
• After going the first 78 minutes, 55 seconds without a shot, the Rams had two scoring opportunities in the final 65 seconds. Senior midfielder Luke Spycher had the first one. Senior striker Johan Schildkraut also had a chance for the equalizer with 20 seconds left. “We had a few chances at the end,” Stroop said after completing his 12th season at the helm. “They’re just strong at home. You can’t take anything away from them. To the player, they’re just talented at every position.”
• Senior Israel Aguilar Valle started in goal for the Rams and had two saves in the first half. Freshman Luca Stefenoni came on between the pipes in the second half but was injured after making three saves. Aguilar Valle returned and made four more saves. He had no chance on the Lakewood Ranch goal. Both goalies benefited from their defense, too. Junior fullback Mateo Rizzo and Davi Stefenoni both stepped up and knocked balls out of the goalmouth after the goalie went out for a save.
• Riverview lists 13 seniors on its roster: Aguilar Valle, Davi Stefenoni, Milan Augustine, Ryan Sims, Alex Escobar, Schildkraut, Spycher, Elliott Crozat, Sean Farrell, Alef Penaz, Carlos Alvarez, Dominic DeGuia and Oliver Moore. “These last four years have been my privilege coaching these boys,” Stroop said. “The grit they have … talented players. Some of them are going off to college to play.”
Lakewood Ranch takeaways
• After a Riverview foul, the Mustangs were awarded a free kick from about 35 yards out. Senior midfielder Sam Leavy, the designated restart kicker, sent a perfect ball to the far post. Lakewood Ranch moved senior Drew Clark moved up from his sweeper position to take advantage of his height. The 6-foot-1 Clark headed the ball inside the far post with 20 minutes, 2 seconds left in regulation. “We work on that all the time,” Bavaro said. “We’re looking for him to come through on that.”
• In recording the team’s 14th shutout of the season, senior goalie Josh McManis did not have any action until the end. “We’ve got to keep Josh on his toes. We can’t have Josh sleep the whole game,” Bavaro joked.
CLASS 2A-REGION 3
Fort Myers Canterbury 4,
Bradenton Christian 0
FORT MYERS — The message was quite simple for the Fort Myers Canterbury boys soccer team in their Class 2A-Region 3 semifinal match Saturday night: Go on the attack offensively and leave no doubt about the outcome.
The Cougars looked dominant defeating Bradenton Christian 4-0 behind goals from Harrison Ames, McLaren Baggett, Brayden Cathey, and Will Hall.
It was a rough go for the Panthers. The Cougars (16-6-2), who had 11 shots on goal at the end of the first water break. finished with 27 shots on goal, compared to just two for Bradenton Christian (9-3-5).
Bradenton Christian coach Patrick Cunneen admitted that it was going to be a tall order for the Panthers to win against Canterbury’s depth, especially down two starters and a third player who is normally in the rotation.
“High school (soccer) is a battle of attrition,” Cunneen said. “We were down three guys to start the game, and three major contributors, which didn’t help. We knew they were a far superior team, with depth like you can’t believe, so to hang in there for as long as we did … that was the goal. Hang in, hopefully get a break, tie one up, you never know.
“It just didn’t bounce our way tonight and we just never had it from the get-go.”
The Panthers’ keeper, Charles Nelson, finished the game with 23 saves after being peppered with shot after shot by the Canterbury attack.
“I’ve been coaching Charlie now for six years,” Cunneen added. “I was an All-American college goaltender, and I will tell you right now his ceiling is the U.S. National Team. He’s that good of a player. He needs some work, he needs to refine, but he’s that good of a player, and you saw it tonight.”
— Alex Martin, correspondent
CLASS 4A-REGION 3
Parrish 5, Lemon Bay 0
PARRISH — The undefeated Parrish Community High girls soccer team seized control from the outset and never let go in a Class 4A-Region 3 semifinal match against Lemon Bay High (16-6-1)..
The Bulls were relentless in defeating the Manta Rays, 5-0, to improve their record to 21-0-1.
The Bulls will travel to Tampa today face Academy of the Holy Names (14-3-3) in the region final. At stake will be a trip to the State Final 4 in Deland.
Less than six minutes into the match, sophomore Brianna Bonzheim booted home the first goal with an assist from sophomore Kendall Hecht. Following an own goal by Lemon Bay, Bonzheim and Hecht would reverse roles with Hecht scoring and Bonzheim supplying the assist for a 3-0 halftime lead.
Sophomore Hayden Lepley made it 4-0 with 11:30 remaining in the match. Hecht wrapped up the scoring less than two minutes later. Freshman Ashley Wagner assisted on both second-half goals.
• Parrish attacked the offensive end the entire 80 minutes of play firing off an incredible 28 shots. “They don’t stop,” third-year head coach Nicole Paternostro said. “They mesh well together. They want it. And they’re not selfish. Having the girls all get along and enjoy being here is a huge part of it.” Goalkeeper Avaya Wright had eight saves for Parrish.
• The Bulls have outscored their opponents by a breathtaking 116-7 this season.
Lemon Bay takeaways
• Despite the lopsided loss, Lemon Bay was able to create some offensive opportunities throughout the match, testing the Parrish defense. The Manta Rays had 12 shots on goal, six in each half. Sophomore goalkeeper Isabelle Ragazzone recorded 18 saves.
• Coach Katie Cook and the Manta Rays were gracious in defeat. They had nothing but praise for Parrish. “We were outmatched,” said Cooke, who wrapped up her eighth season at Lemon Bay. “They played a beautiful game. They moved the ball very well. They don’t stop. We wish them all the best in their next endeavor. We hope they go all the way.”
CLASS 2A-REGION 3
First Baptist Academy 2,
Saint Stephen’s 1
BRADENTON — Freshman Ariana Cintron scored the game-winning goal with less than five minutes left to lead First Baptist Academy to a victory over host Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School in a Class 2A-Region 3 semifinal.
Cintron, an attacking center midfielder, sprinted loose down the field, won a ball and scored on an unassisted breakaway goal in the waning minutes of the second half to help secure the win.
Saint Stephen’s sophomore Madison McAvoy scored the only goal for the Falcons making it 1-1 on a stunning cross by junior Taylor Vogt, who was credited with the assist. The Lady Falcons (14-4-1) had allowed just two goals across their past six games combined heading into Friday, a span which included five shutout wins.
Saint Stephens, a team with zero seniors and just six juniors on its roster, came into the region semifinal having won 12 straight games and nine victories coming via shutout.
CLASS 7A-DISTRICT 8
Riverview 65, Venice 47
SARASOTA — Before the Riverview High boys basketball team purged the regular-season overtime loss to Venice High, the Rams salvaged some valuable lessons from the game tape.
“We learned a lot from it,” Riverview coach Rudy Fraraccio said. “It’s behind us not, but it was definitely a learning lesson.”
Those lessons were valuable as the Rams turned in one of their finest defensive efforts in a victory over Venice High in the Class 7A-District 8 final at the RHS gymnasium.
It was eight short days since Venice handed Riverview a 76-74 loss in overtime at the Teepee. “We definitely stressed defense since losing to Venice,” Fraraccio said.
“We wanted to beat them that bad because of what happened the first time,” Riverview junior guard Jason Jackson said. “We went man the first time and we weren’t moving. This time we went 2-3 and we were able to stop their shooters.”
In winning their third straight district championship, the Rams (20-7) were led by freshman Ja’mier Jones and Jackson with 24 and 20 points, respectively. Jones also had nine rebounds, and Jaron Glover finished with six boards.
Venice (12-10) got 12 points from Jayshon Platt and 10 from Myles Weston.
7 p.m. Thursday
CLASS 7A-REGION 2
Tampa Sickles (7) at Riverview (2)
CLASS 6A-REGION 3
Palmetto (5) at Immokalee (4)
CLASS 5A-REGION 3
Cape Coral Mariner (7) at Charlotte (2)
Southeast (5) at Seminole Osceola (4)
CLASS 4A-REGION 3
Parrish Community (5) at Holiday Anclote (4)
Sebring (6) at Port Charlotte (3)
CLASS 3A-REGION 2
St. Petersburg Northside Christian (7) at Cardinal Mooney (2)
CLASS 2A-REGION 3
Tampa Universal Academy (7) at Bradenton Christian (2)
Class 1A State Championships
Team scoring: 1. Bradford 38, 6. Imagine School at North Port 8.
(Area lifters among the top three)
1. Madison Atwood, Imagine School at North Port (183-pound weight class) 465 pounds.
2. Natalie Brown, Lemon Bay (139) 320.
Team scoring: 1. Suwannee 32, 3. Lemon Bay 16, 6. Imagine School at North Port 13.
(Area lifters among the top three)
1. Madison Atwood, Imagine School at North Port (183-pound weight class) 190 pounds.
2. McKayla Cantrell, Cardinal Mooney (183) 130.
2. Natalie Brown, Lemon Bay (139) 125.
2. Kaci James, Lemon Bay (199) 130.
3. Presley Engelauf, Lemon Bay (154) 115.
Class 2A State Championships
Team scoring: 1. Clay 26, 6. (tie) Charlotte 11, 8. (tie) Port Charlotte 9
(Area lifers among the top three)
2. Tara Yount, Port Charlotte (199) 420
3. Alexa Estevez, Port Charlotte (139) 335
3. Gianna Creola, Charlotte (129) 340
3. Marissa Schuler, Charlotte (119) 305
Team scoring: 1. Clay 34, 4. Port Charlotte 17, 5. Charlotte 14.
(area finishers among the top three)
1. Tara Yount, Port Charlotte (199) 165
2. Angelia Dabney, Port Charlotte (129) 160
2. Alexa Estevez, Port Charlotte (139) 140
3. Gianna Creola, Charlotte (129) 130
3. Jade Fisher, Southeast (110) 100
3. Jada Carter, Charlotte (183) 130
3. Maelani Parkinson, Charlotte (Unl.) 135
Manatee County Championships
Team scoring: 1. Manatee 199.5, 2. Lakewood Ranch 165, 3. Braden River 126, 4. Palmetto 107, 5. Parrish Community 84.5, 6. Bayshore 43.5, 7. Southeast 42
106 pounds — Grady Murphy, Braden River; 113 — Anthony Samuels, Manatee; 120 — Gavin Pozzie, Lakewood Ranch; 126 — Wyatt Loynd, Lakewood Ranch; 132 — Marcus Cincotta, Lakewood Ranch; 138 — Jake Samuels, Manatee; 145 — Dylan Howard, Braden River; 152 — Trenton Johnson, Manatee; 160 — Erik Borresen, Manatee; 170 — Mason Miller, Manatee; 182 — Ranson Coons, Lakewood Ranch; 195 — Gabriel Thomas, Palmetto; 220 — Zamrion Mays, Braden River; 285 — Yeidission Santana, Palmetto.
Team scoring: 1. Lemon Bay 254.5, 4. Sarasota 105, 8. North Port 91.
LEMON BAY RESULTS
106 pounds — Jack Oliver 3rd (3-2); 113 — Logan Kelly 4th (1-2); 120 — Aidan Caviston (1-2); 126 — Brycen Warren 2nd (2-1); 132 — Justin Brady 1st (5-0); 138 — Brock Mars (2-2); 145 — Caleb Corridino 1st (4-0); 160 — Koen Hoffman 1st (4-0); 170 — Chase Alden 1st (5-0); 182 — Lance Schyck 1st (4-0); 195 — Marcus Lopez 1st (5-0); 220 — Ben Arnett 2nd (3-1); Hwt. — Miguel Diaz 1st (4-0); Hwt. — Michael Ward 5th (4-1) non-starter.
Dennis Maffezzoli is the deputy sports editor for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and chief reporter for Sarasota Herald-Tribune and HTpreps covering Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. Support local journalism by subscribing.