The Mariner Tritons won't be playing for the District 3A-11 championship on their home field after falling to the South Fort Myers Wolfpack 3-2 in double overtime Wednesday night at Tony McKenna Field.
The No. 1 seed Cape Coral Seahawks, still unbeaten, will play for the district championship at 5 p.m. Friday after posting a 5-0 victory over Cypress Lake. The win was a costly one as the Seahawks (19-0-2) will be playing without senior striker Ronald Lind, who went down with an ACL injury, lost for the rest of the postseason.
"We are heartbroken over the loss of Lind," said Seahawks coach Aldo Nardiello. "He is our do-everything, blue collar striker. It is a significant loss tactically and in spirit."
With the Seahawks leading 2-0 late in the first half, Lind was chasing a free ball up the right sideline when a Cypress Lake defender swept his legs out from under him. Lind went down immediately and rolled several times in pain, clutching his knee.
"I felt a pop, I felt a pop," Lind kept saying to trainers attending to him on the field.
Lind was carefully removed on a cart to the sidelines and taken to a hospital by ambulance. The Cypress Lake player received a red card forcing the Panthers to finish the game a man down.
Five different Seahawks scored goals - Olivier Benedict, Nathan Stone, Nico Camacho, Lazarus Vega and Vincent Brusco. Kevin Lopera, Caio Amaral, Juan Cano, Jonathan Ramirez and Ben Feakins each had one assist. Goalkeeper Santi Villamil made eight saves to preserve the shutout.
"We were caught back on our heels a bit early," said Nardiello. "Even though we are experienced in postseason I think we had some first game jitters. Once we got over that we did well to hold on."
Benedict, primarily a defender, was up in the penalty box for a corner kick by Lopera. The ball went into the crowd in front of the net where Benedict headed it into the net to break the scoring ice.
The second goal came with four minutes remaining in the opening half. Cape was awarded a free kick from just outside the box in front of the net. Amaral played a quick restart out to the right wing where Stone got behind the defense and found the open net.
"It took a lot of savvy to make that play," said Nardiello. "A lot of experience to do something like that."
The Tritons (20-4-3) dominated the first half, scoring two goals to take a 2-0 lead through 40 minutes.
"We came out flat for some reason in the second half and did not recover," said Tritons coach Martin Cardenas. "We touched the ball well enough to win in the first half, but the second half came down to South committing to challenge everything. We played hard, but they played harder."
Austin Turner got the Tritons on the board with a header in front of the net off a throw-in by Tyler Till. 20 minutes later, Till sprinted to a bouncing ball crossed by Turner and headed it inside the left post.
Unfortunately for the Tritons, they only got two more legitimate shots on goal the rest of the game, including 11:20 of overtime.
South scored three unanswered goals in down the stretch, including the game-winner 1:20 into the second overtime by Marcos Gonzalez. It was the second goal by Gonzalez, who scored the tying goal with just over eight minutes remaining in regulation.
South meets Cape Coral at 5 p.m. Friday for the district championship. The time of the game was switched with the girls' Region 3A-3 semifinal game in which Mariner hosts Estero.
Wednesday, the FHSAA overruled the local decision to play the girls' game first and the boys' game second since both games are at Mariner. The Region 3A-3 semifinal now follows the district game at 8 p.m.
Bishop Verot 73, Ida Baker 39: Four players reached double figures in scoring, led by Ricky Doyle's game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds, to carry Bishop Verot to victory over Ida Baker Wednesday.
Mark Wagner added 17 points, Mason Taylor 14 and Kevin Mosher 10 for the Vikings (16-4), who host Dunbar Friday.
Angel Inchausti's 11 points topped the Bulldogs (4-17), who host Cape Coral Friday.
Ida Baker 12 8 12 7 - 39
Bishop Verot21 19 18 15 - 73
BAKER 39 - Donabed 1, Inchausti 11, Mantle 4, Evans 8, Woods 8, Lugo 3, Placher 4. Totals: 14 8-14 39.
3PG" Inchausti 1, Woods 1, Lugo 1.
VEROT 73 - Wagner 17, Taylor 14, Hippler 5, Mosher 10, Doyle 21, Labreche 3, Citro 4. Totals: 28 14-23 73.
3PG: Wagner 2, Labreche 1.