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Mariner, Cape High win to set up rematch in regional semifinals

February 7, 2019
By PETE SISK ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The rematch is on. It's Cape Coral at Mariner on Saturday in the Region 3A-4 boys soccer semifinals.

Getting there wasn't easy for either side.

The Tritons didn't put away a 2-0 home victory against Immokalee until only 52 seconds remained on the clock. Meanwhile, the Seahawks went to penalty kicks before upending District 3A-14 champion Lely on the south side of Naples.

Article Photos


Mariner senior Nikola Salopek, left, gets a hug from teammate Esteban Orjuela after Salopek scored the Tritons’ first goal in the Region 3A-4 quarterfinals Wednesday night. Orjuela went on to score Mariner’s second goal in the 2-0 win over Immokalee. To view more photos from the match, see the Cape Coral Breeze Facebook page.

Mariner defeated Cape Coral 3-0 last Friday in the District 3A-13 title game on the Seahawks' field.

The next meeting on Saturday will be on Tritons' turf.

Getting to Saturday took some doing for the Tritons (23-1-4). Despite an unimpressive 8-9-5 season record, Immokalee gave Mariner all it could handle on Wednesday.

Even in a down year for the Indians - who had won five district titles in a row until this season - a proud tradition and willingness to embrace the underdog's role kept Immokalee in the match until the end.

"They're a team that has continually gotten better this season," Mariner coach Martin Cardenas said. "The first time we played them we beat them by seven goals. The second time we beat them by two, I believe.

"They were the underdogs over there. I played at Immokalee back in the '80 and I remember we were always the underdog. And we loved that. I told our guys that they feed off that, and they came out with the intensity to make things difficult for us."

Esteban Orjuela fired in the rebound on a Leo Perez shot in the final minute to secure Mariner's victory.

The Tritons' first goal came early in the second half. Nikola Salopek scored on a direct kick with a line drive that deflected off an Immokalee defender and past a helpless goaltender.

"That happens when you put a ball on target," Cardenas said. "We had four or five set pieces where we missed the goal completely. It's not a threat if it's not on the target. That one that he hit, it stayed low, it stayed on target. Thats where you hit those balls because anything could happen.

"That first goal was something that we needed," Cardenas said. "We had a couple of other opportunities that we kind of squandered, but they're a good team. That's the reason that they're here."

Immokalee put some quality shots on both Mariner goalkeepers, Robert Quin-tanilla and Anthony Rodriguez. Rodriguez, in particular, faced some tough chances.

"We haven't had to make more than three or four saves per game," Cardenas said. "Today our second goalie had to make five saves on his own. It's just that pressure, that speed. We're not a fast team, and when we don't cleanly control the ball it puts it in trouble."

Cape Coral 1, Lely 1, Seahawks win on PK: Cape Coral outscored Lely 4-2 on penalty kicks to pull out the victory.

That ended the season for a 22-3-2 Trojans squad, and kept the year alive for the 19-6-1 Seahawks. It also set up another duel with archrival Mariner.

Cape held a 1-0 lead at intermission on Danelo Gomez's goal, but Lely's Jesus Barrera evened the score in the second half to force overtime. After two scoreless 10-minute OT periods, penalty kicks decided the matter.

Class 2A

Sarasota Cardinal Mooney 3, Bishop Verot 1: The Vikings fell in the opening round of state tournament play in Sarasota. Bishop Verot ended the year 4-10-5. District 2A-11 champion Cardinal Mooney advanced to Saturday's second round with a 13-5-5 mark.

Girls basketball

District 5A-10

Bishop Verot 39, Community School of Naples 27: Claire Woolam scored 17 points to lead the Vikings (23-1) into Friday's championship game of the district tournament. The opposition will be St. John Neumann (21-5), which rolled past Clewiston 67-33 in Wednesday's second semifinal.



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