Boys soccer region finals
By JEREMY RASMUSSEN
Published February 10, 2006
CLASS 6A, REGION 2: GAITHER (23-1-2) AT COUNTRYSIDE (25-4)
Game of the Year, Part III. Gaither beat the Cougars 1-0 in district play, but Countryside returned the favor in a 1-0 district final shootout win, sending the Cowboys on the road. Countryside had to reach deep for a 2-1 double-overtime win over Orlando Freedom while Gaither cruised by Melbourne Eau Gallie 3-1. Now the teams meet for the third time, and the winner has to be considered the favorite for the state title. Two-time defending champ Miami Sunset was knocked out 3-0 by Hialeah American, and both Gaither (Elite bracket champion) and Countryside (Premier bracket runnerup) finished better than American in December's prestigious Admiral tournament. Eddie Ababio, Korry Kubly, and D.P. Piniella scored against Eau Gallie, which had not allowed a postseason goal going in.
CLASS 4A, REGION 3: IMMOKALEE (25-1) AT JESUIT (23-4-1)
You're not supposed to look ahead, but Jesuit coach Bob Bauman said he was worrying about Immokalee even before the district playoffs. "We knew they were out there, and they've rolled through everybody," Bauman said. "We've been pushed a little bit (in the playoffs), but we expect this one to be a real barnburner. The key will be to jump on them early." The Indians have not advanced this far in the playoffs since 1997 and have a solid team with Carlos Barraza up top, Clotaire Joseph in the middle and 6-foot-6 sweeper Moise Saintil in back. The Tigers counter with a solid defense and a number of capable attackers such as Kory Sprehe, who netted a hat trick in the 4-1 region semifinal win over Naples Golden Gate.
CLASS 2A, REGION 3: TAMPA PREP (21-4-3) AT FORT MYERS EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN (16-8-2)
This game will hold few surprises for the Terrapins, who beat the Sentinels 3-2 on Jan. 20 in Fort Myers. Sentinels star midfielder Chris Johnson, who scored twice in a 3-2 semifinal win over Indian Rocks Christian, said the team is looking for revenge. But Tampa Prep and leading scorer Ryan Griffin (39 goals) have their eye on the big prize, a repeat trip to the state semifinals. Robby Goldsberry anchors the tenacious Terps defense, which held Bradenton St. Stephens scoreless in a 2-0 semifinal win.