— Pasco coach Barry Grayling hoped fans at Monday's boys soccer game hosting district foe Sunlake would get their money's worth. Some goals next time might be worth a ticket.
The Pirates and Seahawks played to a scoreless draw at W.F. Edwards Stadium, keeping Sunlake's season unblemished, while Pasco putting up its best game thus far.
"We were trying (to give everyone some goals)," Grayling said. "If it weren't for their keeper, it could've been three, four nill."
Indeed, Sunlake (6-0-2) has a talented, but also new keeper: junior Brandon Jungbauer, who had nine saves and has allowed just five goals in eight games. Jungbauer replaces David Dahaney, who now plays at Southeastern University, but has show great promise in the Seahawks early season.
"If it wasn't for Brandon we would've lost the game tonight," said Sunlake coach Sam Koleduk, who, last season, lead the Seahawks to a region final appearance. "His confidence is very high, but it's because he made some big, big saves inside the box tonight."
Pasco (4-1-1) controlled the ball most of the game, having double the scoring opportunities Sunlake had, however, only outshot the Seahawks 3-1 in the first half.
"On the night I definitely think we were the better team," Grayling said. "We took everything we got and gave it to them, but we were a little run down (at the end). For the first 76 minutes, we controlled most of it, and I think it was our best game of the year."
Sunlake managed just six shots on goal, while Pasco keeper Angel Garcia picked up three saves. However, the Pirates had the best chance for a goal in the second half when senior forward Orlando Alcocer had a wide open net, but trapped the ball instead of taking a one timer.
"We had more chances, just shot them right at their keeper," Grayling added.
Jungbauer was able to make the save easily, though Garcia and the Pasco defense was just as impressive, shutting down stand-out junior forward and leading scorer Conner Gilboy and fellow midfielder Calvin Restrepo.
A game like Monday's just reiterates how deep and talented Class 3A-Distrcit 7 is, especially when including Land O' Lakes, which played Sunlake to a 1-1 tie Nov. 16, but defeated Pasco 5-2 on Nov. 14. The Pirates host the Gators (5-1-1) on Friday, while the latter hosts Sunlake on Dec. 12.
"I think, with us three teams, it's always going to come down to a goal apiece and that's it," Koleduk said. "It's going to be games that are just real barn burners."
Grayling, in agreement, sees the difficulty of this district.
"I think it's the hardest district in all of Florida," Grayling said. "I don't think a lot of teams would want to play all three of us, and people would really be biting at the bullet if they were in the same district with Pasco, Sunlake and Land O' Lakes — it's the hardest district to get out of."