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Mariner, Cape to meet in soccer rematch

Battle in boys state tournament Saturday

February 9, 2018
By PETE SISK ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The Mariner Tritons versus Cape Coral Seahawks rematch is on.

Mariner (23-6) rallied from a 2-1 second-half deficit Wednesday to oust Golden Gate 4-2 in the first round of the state Class 3A boys soccer playoff.

Combined with Cape Coral's playoff win at Immokalee, the victory set up a regional semifinal tilt between the Seahawks and Tritons Saturday night at Mariner.

"Yeah, they want to play us," Tritons' coach Martin Cardenas said. "They felt like they should have won the last game," a 2-0 Mariner win for the Distrct 3A-13 title.

Cape Coral had beaten Mariner twice during the regular season.

As a result of that win, not only were the Tritons at home for Wed-nesday's match, but Cardenas had joined his players in the Mariner tradition of bleaching his hair white. Cardenas said that was the bet he had made with his squad if they won the district title.

The Titans ended their year 15-5-1.

"It was a good effort because we went down (2-1)," Cardenas said. "Our talk at halftime was to not let them off the hook. I felt like we had some good chances, especially early on. They took control after the 20th minute and did a really good job pressuring us for the rest of the half. So we talked about that, being more composed and not giving the ball away."

A rally by Golden Gate to open the second half resulted in a goal by Angel Olvera. Olvera won his way through to a loose rebound and punched it into the net for 2-1 Titans lead.

A pair of penalty kicks turned the score around in Mariner's favor.

Amid loud Golden Gate protests, a handball was called in the box on a shot by TJ McKay. That set up McKay for a penalty kick, which he netted against Golden Gate goalkeeper Kevin Garcia.

The complaints from the Titans hadn't quieted down when a foul was called in the box in front of Garcia. This time Alex Franco scored for a 3-2 Mariner advantage.

"In the second half I moved TJ into the middle because he's quicker, and he did a great job," Cardenas said. "That move really helped us."

After the second half water break, a flurry of three yellow cards on the same play set up Golden Gate in the Mariner end. A sustained rally kept the pressure on, but failed to produce a shot. Finally, the Tritons got the ball headed the other way and McKay converted his second goal of the match with 7:11 to play to make it 4-2.

"That's something that we work on, trying to counter-attack," Car-denas said. "Early on we had opporunities and we let them off the hook. That was a great goal and great focus by TJ. He had missed two earlier ones that I thought would have put the game way out of control. So he redeemed himself with that one."

John Franco had given Mariner a quick 1-0 lead in the first half when he headed in a corner kick by Alex Franco. However, that ignited Golden Gate, which got the equalizer not long after on Gabriel Alcaraz's goal.

The Titans kept up the pressure after Alcaraz scored, but despite a series of set plays on corner kicks, they could not convert. That left the score level at 1-1 at intermisison.

Tempers were high by game's end, with Volmy Voltaire of Golden Gate ejected on a double yellow card in the late going. There was some pushing and shoving when the teams lined to to shake hands after the match, leading to the sides being separated.

"Nobody wants to lose, and you when you lose things are a lot more dramatic," Cardenas said. "A bit more meaningful. I don't blame them for being upset. But I don't think it should end this way. I try to tell my guys that you've got to take pride in your sport, take pride in yourself first of all. Handle the wins, enjoy them. Sometimes you lose. That's just the way it is."

Boys soccer

Class 3A playoffs

Cape Coral 5, Immokalee 1: The Seahawks routed the Indians to earn another shot at Mariner on Saturday in the second round of the state playoffs. Jeremy Jiminez, Adao Miranda, Jose Parra, Jacob Jiminez and Mateo Castano scored for the Seahawks. Juan Parra had three assists. A sixth Cape goal was waved off, which would have been Miranda's second of the night. Immokalee had been 5-0-1 against Cape Coral over the past few seasons before Wednesday's victory. This is the earliest the Indians have been knocked out of the playoffs since 2011.

Girls basketball

5A-10 tournament

Bishop Verot 57, Clewiston 50: Bishop Verot (19-6) ousted the second-seeded Tigers (20-4) to reach the district championship. The Vikings will face host school Gateway Charter (21-3), the top seed in the tournament, in the final on Friday. The Griffins eliminated LaBelle (11-14) in Wedneday's other semifinal.

Boys basketball

Palmetto Ridge 87, Ida Baker 61: Blake Donnelly scored 17 points to lead the Bulldogs (4-19), who are home against South Fort Myers on Thursday and at LaBelle on Friday. Palmetto Ridge improved to 21-5.



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