Almost nine months have come and gone since the Cape High boys' soccer team won the Class 4A state championship in February.
Not much has changed as the Seahawks played like state champions determined to repeat when they defeated Lehigh 6-0 in their season-opening test Thursday night at Dave Warkentin Stadium.
"We scored an early goal and that's always nice," said Seahawks coach Aldo Nardiello. "I think we had some opening jitters, but we were sharper with our passed in the second half and improved our combination plays. We are a work in progress."
The Seahawks dominated from the outset, scoring just 30 seconds into the match. Senior Nathan Stone's throw-in found senior Caio Amaral in a crowd right of the goal. Amaral directed a cross into the middle that senior Ronald Lind blasted past the keeper. It was the first of Lind's three goals in the game in addition to one assist.
Lind's second goal came 10 minutes later when he took a centering pass through traffic from Nicholas Camacho and knocked it home.
In the 27th minute of play, another throw-in by Stone was headed just outside the 18-yard box to Marco Nardiello, who settled the ball and booted the ball over the keeper's head just under the crossbar.
The Lightning became more frustrated with each possession terminated by Seahawk defenders stealing the ball right off their feet or blocking the passing lanes and picking up the rebound to penetrate deep into the scoring end.
Amaral scored midway through the second half off an assist from Lind for a 4-0 lead. Five minutes later freshman Jairo Alpire gathered up a rebound off the keeper and buried it in the net. Stone's throw-in sailed toward the goal and Lightning keeper Jonathan Falleiros, who let the ball slip out of his hands in the crowd.
Lind finished it off in the 64th minute with his third score off a cross from Amaral to the far post.
The Seahawks (1-0) play at South Fort Myers on Tuesday.
Ida Baker 0, Mariner 0 (tie): The first meeting between city rivals Baker and Mariner ended in a scoreless tie.
"They had us on the ropes at times," said Bulldogs coach Justin Aulls. "We had plenty of chances to score and Mariner had plenty of chances, too."
Oscar Trujillo narrowly missed the game-winning goal for the Bulldogs when he hit the crossbar in the final minutes.
Freshman Austin Turner had a sure goal for the Tritons saved at the end as well.
"This was our first test against skilled players and their speed," said Tritons coach Martin Cardenas. "We did a good job of staying in front and limiting their dangerous opportunities. We had a couple ourselves as well."
Baker keeper Rush Manterola and Mariner keeper Jacob Olmstead each had 10 saves.
Cardenas credits the midfield play of Tim Thomas and Justin Kuchle and in addition to sophomore Isaias Velasquez for keeping the Bulldogs off the board.
The Bulldogs (1-0-1) host Palmetto Ridge while the Tritons (2-0-1) host Island Coast, both on Tuesday.
Oasis 6, Canterbury 1: Colin Cole scored three goals to lead Oasis to its first victory of the season Thursday.
Rayray Gerke, Mike Volberg and Josh Roos each added one goal while Alex Collazo made 10 saves in goal for the Sharks (1-1), whose next game is at Evangelical Christian Nov. 21.
Cape Coral 6, Lehigh 1: Sophomore Mallory Guerrero was in the right place at the right time to clean up caroms off the goalkeeper to lead Cape Coral to victory over Lehigh with four goals Thursday night.
After giving up an early goal on a defensive miscue, the Seahawks tallied six unanswered goals to win it, four of those goals coming in the second half.
"I was surprised they got a goal early," said Seahawks coach Max Izquierdo. "I think we were a bit overconfident early, but then when they realized they needed to step it up they did."
The Seahawks were whistled for half a dozen offsides infractions in the first 20 minutes, but that's when Guerrero got the tying goal by picking up a deflection off Lehigh's keeper and drilling it into the net.
Three minutes later, the Seahawks returned the keeper's kick into the offensive zone where Guerrero got to the free ball before the charging keeper and lifted a rainbow shot over the keeper and one bounce into the net for what proved to be the game-winning score.
Emily Daniels and Megan Terzak added goals in the second half to two more by Guerrero. Both of Guerrero's second-half goals were similar to the first half, a carom off the keeper and beating the keeper to a free ball.
"Mallory has a lot of potential," said Izquierdo.
The Seahawks (1-2) host South Fort Myers on Tuesday.
Ida Baker 1, Fort Myers 0: Senior Brittney Herrera broke a scoreless tie with an unassisted goal from the left side about five minutes into the second half to give Baker a District 4A-12 victory over Fort Myers Thursday.
"After the goal we decided one was enough and played defensively," said Bulldogs coach Dave Trepkowski. "Both teams played well tonight."
Goalkeeper Amanda Kopale made three saves to preserve the fourth straight win for the Bulldogs (4-0-1).
Baker plays at Palmetto Ridge on Tuesday.
North Fort Myers 3, Estero 2: Darian Leschewski scored two unassisted goals and North Fort Myers gave up a late goal in a victory over Estero Thursday.
Miranda Lukas added one goal and Casey Gentile had one assist. Goalkeeper Gigi Chambers made six saves for the Knights (3-1), who host Lemon Bay Tuesday night.