Six players scored as Lakewood Ranch High School shredded Sarasota Riverview, 8-0, in the final of the Class 5A-District 8 boys soccer tournament on Friday on the Mustangs’ field.
The game was stopped with 37:36 remaining in the second half by the mercy rule.
Lakewood Ranch head coach Vito Bavaro said it was the best game the Mustangs (16-2-1) have played.
“We did something that we haven’t done all year, which is score quick and fast,” said Bavaro, whose team scored three goals in the first five minutes.
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With the win, Lakewood Ranch has earned five consecutive district championships. The Mustangs will play host to either Lutz Steinbrenner High or Wesley Chapel Wiregrass Ranch on Wednesday in the Region 2 quarterfinals. As the runner-up in the district tournament, Riverview also advances to the region tourney but plays on the road.
Lakewood Ranch jumped to a 1-0 lead in the second minute when Connor Bezet scored on an assist from Daniel Rocco. The Mustangs made it 2-0 on a goal by Ricky Yanez about a minute later. He was assisted by Bezet.
“We want to set a tone for the teams we play against in regionals,” Rocco, a senior, said. “We want to show them we are ready for them.”
Tyler Puhalovich struck in the fifth minute to increase the lead to 3-0. Sam Stapleton-Jones added a goal in the 21st minute.
“It was definitely the best game we’ve played all season,” said Puhalovich, a senior.
Yanez made it 5-0 in the 34th minute on an assist from Stapleton-Jones. Rocco scored on another assist from Stapleton-Jones in the 39th minute to give Lakewood Ranch the 6-0 halftime advantage.
Pablo Vargas gave Ranch a 7-0 lead with a goal about two minutes into the second half.
Bezet’s goal, off an assist from Vargas, ended the game.
“We came out focused,” senior Nate Ellis said. “Warmups were amazing, and we knew we were going to do something special.”