Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Pirates Knock off Bobcats

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Pirates Knock off Bobcats

Article excerpt

lCLASS 4A-DISTRICT 11: They advance to district title game for first time

NORTH PORT -- Mitchell McCormick made a run at a ball when it appeared he had little to no chance to make a play on it.

Streaking down the left sideline from his wing fullback position, McCormick won the ball and flicked to Mario Lopez, who has been the offense for the Braden River High boys soccer team in the playoffs.

Lopez rifled in a shot 10 minutes into the second half to continue the Pirates' improbable run in Class 4A-District 11 with a 2-1 victory over top-seed North Port in the semifinal round Wednesday night at the Bobcats Preserve.

In quest of its first boys soccer district title, fourth-seed Braden River (8-8-1) will travel Lakewood Ranch, a 4-0 winner over Venice, for the 4A-11 final 7 p.m. Friday. The victory also earns the Pirates a spot in next week's regional tournament.

"I wanted to win the ball," McCormick said. "It came down to who wanted it more at the time. I saw a chance and went for it. Sometimes it's a risk. It happened to work out in our favor this time.

"I saw ball and saw chance and went for it."

Lopez, who had the equalizer in the first half and the only goal in the 1-0 victory over Port Charlotte on Monday, was in the right spot again.

"I saw him up there," McCormick said. "I figured if I had a chance and the ball bounced out there, he'd be there and put it away. He did exactly what I thought he would."

The Pirates figured they could do some damage, if they could keep the ball on the ground and put pressure on the North Port tall defenders.

"He was able to get forward and do some damage," Braden River coach Braden Chandler said of McCormick. "He did a good job. We knew coming in from playing North Port the previous two times what we needed to do."

Lopez's second goal of the night came after the Bobcats (16-4-1) came out and put intense pressure on Braden River. …

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