Though the Port Charlotte boys’ soccer team got strong play from two different goalkeepers last night, it dropped a 6-1 decision to district rival Cypress Lake on home soil.
The loss drops the Pirates record to 2-6-2 while their district 3A-13 mark slipped to 1-2-1. Cypress Lake advanced to 2-3-2 and 2-0-1 in district play.
“Injuries are killing us, but there is nothing we can do about that,” said Pirates’ head coach Joe Roca. “We played poorly really. We were kind of lax going to the ball and when you have injuries, that’s not a good time for that kind of play.”
Port Charlotte started with senior Hunter Cole in net after he had made several strong saves. In the second half, German exchange student Luca Weigand replaced Cole. Cole was back out on the field shortly after the switch – only he was playing on the forward line. He eventually played a strong part in the lone Pirates goal.
Despite the strong play on the back line, the Panthers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first half. Werner Mendia nearly flexed the net for Port Charlotte in the 18th minute after he gained a step on the defense. His shot went just wide.
Perhaps the best scoring chances for the Pirates in the first half came off the foot of Braden Zobel. Late in the half, Zobel dribbled past a pair of defenders and sent a low shot that the Panthers goalkeeper made a sliding save on.
A minute later, Zobel again had the defense beat, but his shot sailed just past the left post.
In the early going of the second half, Greg Williams sustained an ankle injury that had him down on the field for several minutes. Though he was carried off the field by Coach Roca, he was back on the field within 10 minutes.
The Panthers scored a pair of quick goals in the early minutes of the second 40 minutes. The first net bender was off Cole and the second off Weigand. While Weigand would eventually make three diving saves in the second half, Cole proved his worth at forward.
“At halftime I asked coach, ‘hey, how about putting me in the field,”’ said Cole. “I thought I could give the team a lift. On the goal. I saw Werner (Mendia) there making a run and I was able to get it to him.”
On that lone Port Charlotte goal, Cole dribbled up the left side of the field, eluded a couple of defenders and fired a pass to Mendia in front of the net. After receiving the 20-foot crossing pass, Mendia did the rest.
“It was a nice pass, but I had to finish it.” Mendia said. “But the defender got it and I had to get it away from him and I just shot it in. I was right in front and had a lot of net to shoot at.”
The Pirates are next in action next Tuesday when they travel to Englewood for a date with Lemon Bay at 7 p.m.