Matanzas boys soccer coach Beto Aguilar said the Pirates are a work in progress. After winning the District 5-5A championship on Tuesday, Jan. 30, they will have at least one more game to refine their play.
The Pirates (11-4-2) defeated Seabreeze 5-1 in the district championship game at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex to advance to the regional playoffs. Senior midfielder Diego Bernardi scored two goals for Matanzas.
“We’re trying to be a team that can keep possession, buy into training and buy into each other,” Aguilar said. “The more they buy into each other, the more you’ll see them sharing the ball and keeping it moving.”
The Sandcrabs ended their season with a 3-9 record after defeating Mainland 3-2 to advance to the district final.
“They’re a good team,” Seabreeze coach Rob Bowling said of Matanzas. We’re a young team, and we had a tough schedule. We didn’t do what we wanted to do, but the experience will be invaluable for the young kids.”
The Pirates won their third district championship in four years. They fell to Seabreeze in last year’s district final in a game that was decided by penalty kicks.
“It’s a great feeling just as it felt the first time we won the district,” Bernardi said. “It was not as easy as we thought. They were obviously ready to play.”
Bernardi scored four minutes into the game off an assist by Sergio Posada.
“Sergio left the ball for me on the right side and I was able to strike it into the top left corner,” Bernardi said.
Landon Grover scored on a penalty kick in the 25th minute to give Matanzas a 2-0 lead, a score that would remain until Bernardi scored his second goal with 14:09 left in the game. Seabreeze junior Drew McNerney scored on a penalty kick to make it 3-1 with under 10 minutes left.
The Pirates added two goals in the final minutes, with Julius Bullock scoring off a Bernardi assist with 3:07 left and Sebastian DeLeon scoring in the final minute against backup goalie Ethan Folkerts.
“When it was 3-0, we wanted to make sure we played all our seniors,” Bowling said. “We put in Jack Glazier. He hasn’t played since early December because of a hip injury, but he wanted to play the last few minutes of his senior year.”
The Sandcrabs will return all but one starter next season.
SEABREEZE GIRLS WIN
The Seabreeze girls won their second consecutive District 5-5A championship and third in four years with an 8-0 mercy-rule victory over Matanzas in the first game of the district championship doubleheader Jan. 30 at the Ormond Sports Complex.
The Sandcrabs (10-6-1), were ranked third in the region entering the district tournament and will likely host the first round of regionals. The Pirates (11-4-1) are on the bubble for a wild-card bid. They were ranked eighth in the region entering the district tourney.