TAMPA — Jesuit’s Class 3A-Region 3 boys soccer quarterfinal Thursday was little more than routine after senior Jacob Vila finished a Connar Lufkin cross 33 seconds into the match en route to an 8-0 win against Dunedin.
However, the quick start gave the Tigers a chance to show off their bench. Those players responded with four goals and five assists, including a hat trick by junior midfielder Daryian Flores.
The Tigers extended the lead in the 12th minute as Vila sent a touch pass to his left, finding Jacob Starnes. From there the match was a showcase for Jesuit’s non-starters.
“Whenever we make changes, the level doesn’t drop that much,” coach Eric Sims said. “It shows how strong the team is when you have guys come off the bench and score a hat trick. It’s tough as a coach to get all these guys on the field, but it’s a good problem to have.”
Flores came in at the 17-minute mark, along with Kurt Sierra and senior Peter Johnson, and the three immediately caught up to game-speed. Sierra sent a corner into the box in the 21st minute and Flores squared a shot. Johnson, a senior and normally a starter who has missed significant time this season with an ankle injury, looked sharp scoring a goal off a Vila pass and adding two assists. Flores started the second half with a goal 25 seconds in before adding his third a little more than a minute after, while Stephen Huetz and James Serrano each added goals.
“Our biggest advantage is how we are coming together right now,” Flores said. “The team has so much depth and skill, and when we play as a unit we really play at a high level.”
4A-2: Wiregrass Ranch stops Lakeland Kathleen
WESLEY CHAPEL — Wiregrass Ranch used its home-field advantage, a late arrival by its opponent and a quick start in a 5-2 victory against Lakeland Kathleen in a Class 4A-Region 2 quarterfinal.
The victory gave the Bulls (21-1-2) the program’s first postseason win in its eighth season of existence.
Kathleen (20-5-2) arrived just 30 minutes before game time due its bus breaking down outside of Plant City.
“My first year with the team, my first regional game and we get our first regional win as a freshman playing varsity, it doesn’t get much better than that,” forward Chris Faddoul said. “I don’t really know how to describe how great this feeling is right now.”
Wiregrass wanted to come out fast, and did so by taking a 2-0 lead just 2:20 into the game. Matthew Bradshaw scored on a header from Andy Hippley just 31 seconds after the whistle, then senior Bryce Wilson added his team-high 28th goal on a deflected free kick.
Then in the fifth minute, the Devils got on the board on a goal by Andrew Yarnell, and Kathleen was awarded a penalty kick in the 10th. Gil Mata took a low shot to his right, but senior keeper Alex Cypriano made a stellar save.
“We wanted to take the most of the situation we had here,” Bulls coach Dave Wilson said. “We ended up having five different guys score goals, so they couldn’t shut down one guy.”
Wiregrass made it 3-1 in the 22nd minute when Sean Sourk put in a goal on an assist from Wilson, but Kathleen closed the lead with a goal by Juan Francisco in the 38th.
But the second half was all Wiregrass. Faddoul buried an empty-netter by beating the keeper 1-on-1, and Devi Ndrita scored in the 67th minute.
The Bulls will play the winner of the Mitchell vs. Lake Region game, which was postponed until tonight at 7 due to poor field conditions.
4A-3: Seminole tops Hillsborough in OT
TAMPA — Liam Murphy advanced Seminole past Hillsborough 3-2 in the Class 4A-Region 3 quarterfinals with a goal 3 minutes into the first overtime period.
Murphy had given Seminole a 2-0 lead in the 64th minute after an earlier goal by Tanner Vaughn, but the Terriers fought back with a desperate rally in the final 8 minutes of regulation.
Hillsborough’s Alejandro Tovar threw in a ball that was deemed to have skidded off a Seminole defender and into the net in the 72nd minute. Tovar tied the game in the final seconds with his own header off a Terriers corner kick.
“I’ve been in (Hillsborough’s) position, having come back like that and then losing, and it’s not a good feeling,” Seminole coach Rick Masi said.
Playing down a man after having Paul Gyorkos dismissed for a second yellow card just before regulation ended, Seminole found the quick overtime winner when Shane Butler’s corner kick reached Murphy’s head.
“It was chaotic and I just ran near-post and Shane played a perfect corner,” Murphy said.
4A-3: Palmetto coasts to big win against King
PALMETTO — Palmetto advanced to the Class 4A-Region 3 semifinals with a 5-1 victory against King.
King finished the season 12-7-6, while Palmetto improved to 21-2-1.
3A-2: Sunlake cruises past Nature Coast 8-0
LAND O’ LAKES — Explosive Sunlake lived up to its billing against visiting Brooksville Nature Coast.
The Seahawks (27-1-1), who arrived averaging 5.5 goals per game, have thrived on collecting goals in bunches.
That pattern continued during the Class 3A-Region 2 quarterfinals when the Seahawks earned their 10th straight win by eliminating Nature Coast (12-13) 8-0 via the mercy rule.
Remi Pimm had four goals — including three and an assist in a six-goal second half. All of this came after a spectacular bicycle kick with less than a minute remaining in the first half following a long throw on a set piece by junior striker Connor Spencer.
Spencer chipped in his 24th and 25th goals of the season along with his team-leading 38th and 39th assists.
Sunlake sophomore keeper Danny Hrenko had one save for his 20th shutout.
3A-2: Late goal lifts Citrus past Land O’ Lakes 4-3
INVERNESS — Josh Marsden scored the winning goal in the 76th minute to lift Inverness Citrus past Land O’ Lakes 4-3 in a Class 3A-Region 2 quarterfinal.
Land O’ Lakes sophomore Glenn Johnson scored three goals, the last unassisted with 10 minutes left in the game.
Land O’ Lakes finished with a 14-8-1 record for the year.
“The defense played (poorly),” Land O’ Lakes coach Mark Pearson said. “We conceded more goals than I thought we would ever give up in one game.”
“I think we came out as strong as we could and they played a great game,” said Johnson, who finished the season with 30 goals. “At the end of the game, the better team won.”
Citrus scored the first two goals, one on a header by Mauro Mondragon.
Land O’ Lakes fought back to tie the score at 3, but Marsden scored his second goal of the night to win it.