The strategy of the Ida Baker Bulldogs Thursday night against unbeated Cape Coral was to let the Seahawks advance into the scoring zone with the intent to intercept and launch a counter attack.
"It is very difficult to break through a well-organized defense," said Seahawks coach Aldo Nardiello. "They counter attacked very well. It's a good strategy, but we've seen it often."
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the strategy did not provide enough offensive penetrations of their own and the Seahawks came away with a 1-0 victory at Bulldog Stadium.
After 20 days off during the holiday break, the Seahawks (12-0-1) barely skipped a beat. The win is the fifth in a row for the Seahawks since they tied Golden Gate on Dec. 3. It's also their 10th shutout win of the season.
"I thought we played great tonight," said Bulldogs coach Justin Aulls. "I have nothing negative to say about my team. We let them come at us so we could counter attack. We were just unlucky not to get some points on the board."
While the Bulldogs had few scoring chances, the Seahawks had plenty. Two shots barely cleared the crossbar in the first half, and in the second half one shot skirted just past the right post, a right wing cross passed over the bar and landed on top of the net and yet another clanked off the left post from close range.
The Seahawks scored the game's only goal with less than three minutes left in the first half on Kevin Lopera's 20-yard blast inside the right post. Oscar Camacho was credited with the assist.
The speed and defensive back line of the Seahawks made trying to score miserable for the Bulldogs all night. The Bulldogs got off just three shots on goal and seven shots overall compared to the Seahawks with 12 shots on goal and 26 overall.
"I'm more than thrilled with the win," said Nardiello. "Baker is a good team. We had to earn the win."
Aulls was pleased with the defensive effort by Alex Howard, Fabian Guzman and George Kucera in front of goalkeeper Rush Manterola, who finished with 10 saves.
Olivier Benedict and Jordan Taylor likewise were brilliant at turning away Bulldog penetrations. Their work was partly responsible for Cape goalkeeper Santi Villamil having to make just three saves.
Mariner 2, Riverdale 0: Josh Teeter and Tim Thomas scored goals in different halves to lift Mariner to victory over Riverdale Thursday night.
Teeter scored just inside the box off a corner kick in the first half for what proved to be the game-winning goal. Daniel Rawley was taken down inside the penalty box in the second half with Thomas converting the penalty kick. Jacob Olmstead made six saves in goal for the Tritons (15-2-3).
"It was a good fight," said Tritons coach Martin Cardenas. "It was very physically demanding. Toby Lara had a good night on defense for us."
Ida Baker 1, Bishop Verot 1 (tie): Bishop Verot capitalized on Ida Baker's lineup change late in the game to force a tie Thursday night at Viking Stadium.
Alexsys Vargas scored an unassisted goal for the Bulldogs in the first half, a lead that lasted until the tying goal in the second half. Goalkeeper Amanda Kopale made nine saves, but it was the coaching decision on the "experiment" that cost the Bulldogs the win.
"Bishop Verot is a good, quick team," said Bulldogs coach Dave Trepkowski. "I tried something different and they got the tying goal, but we held our own against them. It was a good game, no excuses."
Kelly Williamson scored the tying goal for the Vikings (8-1-2) with an assist by Lauren Cento. Goalkeepers Cailyn Rizzo and Chrissie Gibson combined for eight saves.
The teams agreed to go to penalty kicks at the end in preparation for district tournaments later this month, but the PKs also ended in a 4-4 tie.
The Bulldogs (16-1-4) play Saturday at Dunbar.
Mariner at Riverdale: Thursday's game was postponed because only one referee showed up. It has not been decided whether to make up the game before the district tournament.