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Tritons and Seahawks to play for boys’ district title — again

January 31, 2019
By PETE SISK ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

If it's the boys district soccer championship, it must be Cape Coral and Mariner.

In what is pretty much an annual tradition, the Seahawks and Tritons will meet Friday night at Cape Coral High. At stake is the District 3A-13 championship.

The Seahawks (18-5-1) took a 5-2 semifinal win against Cypress Lake in the early match Wednesday, then Mariner (21-1-4) crushed Lemon Bay 8-0 in the nightcap.

"It doesn't get old," Tritons' coach Martin Cardenas said of the impending showdown with Cape Coral. "They played really well against Cypress. They've got some dangerous players we'll have to keep an eye on. Hopefully we can do our thing."

Jacob Jimenez scored a hat trick for Cape Coral, Evan Oben picked up a goal on a penalty kick and Bryan Alvarez added the fifth Seahawks' goal. Franklin Hernandez and Alejando Pastrana scored for the Panthers.

"We have a very young team," Cape coach Daniel Gross said. "We lost nine starters from last year, so we're very young."

Gross said his players have benefitted by getting some tournament experience under their belts.

"You could tell Monday (a 2-1 overtime win over Port Charlotte) that they were very nervous. They played well today."

"We've had it coming together, winning seven in a row. It's coming together. It's been a work in progress all year. We reached a goal in getting to the district championship."

Leo Perez scored four times for Mariner, including two goals in the first two minutes of the second half that blew the game wide open.

As the Tritons poured shot after shot on the Lemon Bay goal in the second half, the end result was inevitable.

As inevitable as the breeze that made temperatures in the mid-to-low 50s feel much colder as it got dark at Cape Coral High.

Santiago Guerrero, Nikola Salopek, Ignacio Velardez and Pedro Reyes also scored for Mariner.

"The boys came out and they scored early, which is something we wanted to do," Cardenas said. "It just set the tone.

"They played us really well for the middle 20 minutes. We came out quick again in the second half. It put them in a defensive mode and allowed us to play a little bit more open. We got to play a lot of the kids that don't normally play that much. They played a lot of minutes today, so that was good."

Mariner has won the last three matches with Cape, including last year's district final and regional semifinal. The Seahawks took the district title in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The two teams played in the final every year since 2013.

"Mariner's a very strong team and a very senior team," Gross said. "We totally expected them to be here."

For both teams, there's the knowledge that they can keep playing after Friday's district title. Friday's winner will get a first-round home match in the Class 3A playoffs, while the loser will open on the road.

With his four goals Wednesday, Perez set a Tritons single-season record with 45 tallies.

Boys basketball

Mariner 69, North Fort Myers 45: The Tritons (6-15) picked up a road non-district win against old rival North (3-16) on Wednesday. The Red Knights are home against Riverdale on Thursday. On Friday, Mariner travels to face a tough Lehigh squad.

Girls basketball

Lehigh 79, Island Coast 25: The Lightning (11-10) rolled to a home victory, dropping Island Coast to 10-14. The Gators are home Friday to take on Mariner.



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