VENICE — Jerimiah Bohdanets scored toward the end of the first half, and the North Port High School boys soccer team was able to withstand a late Venice rally to escape with a 1-0 victory Friday in a District 4A-11 matchup.
Bohdanets was able to get Venice goalkeeper Stefan Slavov to commit, then won a fight for the ball with two Indian defenders to poke the ball in the net for the game’s only goal.
The play actually started following a scramble in front of the North Port net. The ball got out to Bohdanets, who took things into his own hands.
“Venice was leaving it for the keeper to get it, but he didn’t run out in time and I was able to tap it under his hands,” Bohdanets said. “The two defenders couldn’t get the ball out so I stuck my foot in and scored.”
North Port (8-2, 3-1) dominated the first half as Venice played tentative, outshooting them 9-2 and playing much of the half in Venice territory.
Venice (2-6, 1-3) came out after halftime with more confidence and urgency and started to take it to the Bobcats, and while some offside calls wiped out opportunities, the Indians were finally able to knock on the door.
In the 70th minute, Venice had its chance to tie the game as North Port goalkeeper Alvaro Amaya had a misplay of his own. Only this time, Joaquin Rueda and Andrew Davis couldn’t get their feet on the ball and the Bobcat defense got the ball out of there to salvage a corner kick.
Venice had a couple minor chances in the closing moments, but the Bobcats shut the door and was able to run out the clock.
Venice coach Greg Atkin said his young team showed its mettle after the half, but if there ever was a year for North Port to better Venice, it’s this one.
“They scored a big goal and had us on the ropes in the first half,” Atkin said. “The second half was different, and a little composure could have given us the tying goal. They know they were lucky to get out of here with a win.”
North Port coach Joey Sorbino had to agree that North Port was fortunate to get out with a road win in district.
“We knew it was going to be a tight game. It always is with Venice. We outpossessed them, but we were our own worst enemy. We couldn’t seem to put them away,” Sorbino said. “In the end, it was about digging deep for that extra effort and covering for your goalie when he’s beat and we have those guts this year.”
Sorbino said a lack of depth was an issue after losing Aaron Sorbino to a season-ending knee injury Wednesday against Port Charlotte, so he will likely be calling on his bench and reinforcements on JV to make up for the loss.
North Port outshot Venice 15-6 on the night and held a 4-1 edge in corner kicks.