VENICE — The Venice boys soccer team was up to the challenge of facing undefeated Sarasota Riverview Monday night as the two teams battled to a 0-0 tie.

The Rams have given up only one goal all season, so it was no surprise that the Indians would have trouble scoring. But the Venice defense, led by goalkeeper Brendan Reilly, was equal to the task and also kept Riverview off the board.

Indians coach Dave Porvaznik said Venice did not employ any specific defensive strategy against the Rams.

“I just told the boys we just have to play our game,” Porvaznik said. “And we have to play it our way. No more playing to their game. We have played other teams and when we play them the way we want to play, we have success.

“It was one of the best games they’ve played all season.”

The Indians endured a four-game losing streak prior to the holiday break, including a 2-0 loss to the Rams, but now have a win and a tie in their last two matches.

“Both teams had opportunities to score,” Porvaznik said. “We were still down a couple of players and that kind of hurt us a little bit, but that’s OK. We stepped it up and helped each other.”

Although Riverview got off more shots, the Indians had the better chances to score. Sebastian Somenzini hit the goalpost in the opening minutes of the game, and Luciano Somenzini’s shot from close range was stopped by Luca Stefanoni, the Rams’ third goalie of the evening, in the closing seconds.

“Because of COVID, we did not get a chance to practice one time over the break, and it really showed in the first half,” Riverview coach Edward Stroop said. “We were a little rusty on our touches and mentally I think we weren’t there.”

The Rams are ranked fifth in the state in Class 7A and 11th overall.

“Every game we play we are everybody’s big game,” Stroop said. “Venice played really well. They came out wanting to win and give us a match and they did. So congratulations to them, but we’ll take the tie.”

Riverview is now 9-0-3 on the season with District tournaments just two weeks away.

“Venice is a great team, they should go far in the playoffs also,” Stroop said. “We’ll probably meet up with them again.”

The Indians are now 5-4-3 and will host Port Charlotte on Wednesday night.

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