Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

BOYS SOCCER REGIONAL SEMIFINALS; Mandarin Boots Fletcher

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

BOYS SOCCER REGIONAL SEMIFINALS; Mandarin Boots Fletcher

Article excerpt

Byline: FRANCINE KING

Three early goals boosted the Mandarin boys soccer team to a 3-1 Region 1-6A semifinal victory over visiting Fletcher on Tuesday.

That margin seemed to be the magic number for Mandarin and Fletcher this season, as the teams' last three meetings all ended 3-1. The Mustangs (23-1-2) won the last two of those faceoffs, and Mandarin coach Jason Cooley said the key in all five of the archrivals' meetings this season was early intensity.

"Whoever comes out the more aggressive team has won the games," Cooley said. "The key to [Tuesday's] match was Hector Vega and Michael Rauco. Those two kids dominated a lot of the midfield play, especially in the first half, and that allowed Andre Brunelli, and [Jean] Vega and [Esteban] Cobo to get loose and have a good game."

Cobo started the scoring for Mandarin in the sixth minute. He gathered a ball on the sloppy, rain-soaked field just in front of the goal and buried a shot from 6 yards out. Jean Vega followed with a score off an assist from Zack Huston with 29:04 remaining in the half.

Brunelli tacked on a third goal for the Mustangs in the 19th minute when he ripped a hard shot off the back of Jean Vega's legs that rebounded to Brunelli, giving him a second opportunity to land one in the net.

Tony Kattreh scored on a penalty kick for Fletcher (19-5-1) with 17:16 to play. He connected on a grounder into the left corner.

Mandarin advanced to the regional championship for the second consecutive season and will play host to Lake Mary on Friday.

Region 1-4A: Ryan O'Farrell's hands sent Stanton back to the regional championship.

O'Farrell made a save on the first kick of a sudden-death shootout to give Stanton a 2-1 (5-4 PK) semifinal victory over visiting Nease. The win exacted a bit of revenge for the Blue Devils, who lost in the state semifinals last year to Nease. …

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