Boys soccer | Palmetto recovers from early goal, pounds Seminole Osceola in district semi

Early goal failsto faze seasoned Palmetto squad

jdill@bradenton.comJanuary 23, 2014 

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Palmetto's Gregorio Calvillo kicks the ball past Montverde Academy defenders as the Palmetto Tigers host the Montverde Academy Eagles on Monday. GRANT JEFFERIES/Bradenton Herald

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PALMETTO -- It took five minutes for the Palmetto Tigers boys soccer team to fall behind.

It didn't take much longer for the hosts to flex their muscles and dominate Wednesday's Class 4A-District 10 semifinal.

In the end, the Tigers (19-2-1) polished off a 5-1 victory over visiting Seminole Osceola, but it wasn't as easy as the final score indicates.

"Osceola came to play," Palmetto head coach Dustin Dahlquist said. "They came out on fire. Osceola played fantastic (Wednesday). Probably gave us a little more of a game than maybe we would've expected from a team that had to play an overtime game last (Tuesday) night. I'll give them a lot of credit. But I'll give our kids a bunch of credit. They showed how resilient they are."

That resiliency came through just five minutes after Osceola took a 1-0 lead.

Palmetto junior midfielder Raul Loera got the final touch on the equalizing goal that came from Usiel Martinez's caromed shot off the crossbar.

Then Gregorio Calvillo, the Tigers' dynamic senior forward, chested down a ball that was played over the top of the Warriors' defense before slotting in the go-ahead goal just two minutes from halftime.

"We had been pressing a little bit," Dahlquist said. "... It looked like Osceola had backed off a little bit, and Gregorio had missed a couple already. Right then and there, 2-1 going into the half when it looked like maybe it was going to be 1-1, yeah that was a huge goal for us."

Palmetto's work was not done.

And the Tigers received an advantage to help their cause when Osceola senior Jake Luff, who scored the opening goal, was sent off with a red card for a two-footed slide tackle on Javis Paniagua just four minutes into the second period.

"The game kind of slowed down at that point," Dahlquist said. "I still think we could have done things a little bit better. Osceola didn't lay down. They fought until the end. I thought it was a good match. But you can't come with two cleats up in the center of the field and not expect that is going to be the result. It's high school soccer. I felt the officials did a good job with the call."

Four minutes following the red card, Palmetto's Abel Dubon headed in the Tigers' third goal, which came off a corner.

Jose Romero and Leandro Gonzalez finished the scoring for the Tigers, who host Friday's district championship against Seminole.

"This is a tough district," Dahlquist said. "Pinellas County soccer has always traditionally been very good in the state."

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