BRADENTON -- On a cold night, it was Braden River's hot offense that led them to a 7-1 win over visiting Charlotte High on Monday in the Class 4A-District 11 playoff game.
The Pirates (9-8) utilized a balanced attack, having six different players score a goal, while doing it in a multitude of ways.
"A lot of guys scored tonight and we were able to move the ball well with some great passing," Braden River head coach Braden Chandler said. "We scored off assists, rebounds, penalty kicks and corner kicks. Hopefully we can keep playing that well offensively, keep our shape and good formation moving forward."
Charlotte (1-16-1) looked good early on, getting a Stephen Young goal at the 20th minute, but that would be the team's only highlight of the night, and it woke up Braden River.
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"We weren't playing our game. The team started off slow," Chandler said. "I told them to get the ball out wide more, because we were forcing it to much into the middle and this is playoffs. It's win or go home."
Minutes after the Young goal, the Pirates' Kemal Inandi got the offense going with a laser shot from about 30 feet out, tying the game at one.
Junior Michael Villarante added to the lead at the 29th minute, followed up by a penalty kick a minute later, pushing the Braden River lead to 3-1 heading into halftime.
"Our coaches put us in the best position to be successful, so it's up to us to make plays," Villarante said. "One score was easy because it was a penalty kick, but the second one we spaced the field really well and I was able to get a good look and hit it."
Charlotte has struggled all year with holding leads
and playing consistently, it's something second-year head coach Alex Lebeau hopes he can fix in the offseason.
"We came out focused and ready but we couldn't sustain it and that's been our Achilles' heel all season," Lebeau said. "When things don't go our way we lose our heads, and that's something we have to work on."
Inandi finished with one assist to go along with his goal, while Oswaldo Herrera, Domenic Aluise, Scott Covino and Elijah Bowers also scored goals for the Pirates.
On Wednesday, Braden River will travel to North Port High for a 7 p.m. game.
They eliminated North Port last year in the district semifinals.
"We've played them twice this season, losing both, but with our win last year and the way we played tonight I'm confident my guys will be ready to go," Chandler said.