High School Sports

Total domination

BRADENTON - Getting the ball in the net was easy for Ryley Delgado in Tuesday's Class 2A-Region 3 boys soccer semifinals at Turners Fields.

The Saint Stephen's sophomore forward maneuvered through Spring Hill Bishop McLaughlin's defense like a hot knife slicing through butter.

The Falcons controlled the game offensively and defensively, and in the end, Delgado had registered five goals in a 6-0 bashing of the Hurricanes.

"I'm always hoping for big days like this, and (Tuesday) it just came out," Delgado said. "It was really good how we worked the ball around."

The onslaught of goals began in the 16th minute, when Falcons sophomore midfielder Alex Walters found a streaking Delgado, who fired a shot from about nine yards out into the right corner of the net.

About 20 minutes later, Falcons forward Kevin Peterson laced a shot into the net to give the Falcons (17-4-2) a 2-0 lead. Peterson also had two assists in the game.

Bishop McLaughlin coach John Mayer was baffled at the Falcons' domination. In the first half, the Hurricanes registered only two shots on goal and finished with six in the game.

"Oh my gosh, defensively they don't let you look up," Mayer said of the Falcons, who will face Tampa Prep on Friday in the regional finals. "They are always at your feet trying to knock the ball away. Offensively, they are skilled, and they find the open man. They kept us on our heels and off balance." During stoppage time in the first half, Delgado scored his second goal as he dribbled through three Hurricanes defenders before scoring from about four yards out.

In the second half, Delgado tacked on goals in the 43rd, 64th and 68th minutes.

The Falcons totaled 17 shots on goal.

Falcons coach Marc Jones credited his players participation in club ball with them playing mistake-free soccer.

"We got some superb technical players," Jones said. "All of them play club ball, and their speed and technical ability is good, and I don't think (the Hurricanes) could cope with that (Tuesday)."

With the regional finals looming, Jones said his team must continue to play well.

"(Delgado) is one of the top forwards in the state even as a sophomore," Jones said. "He and Peterson make a really good tandem. We are confident, if we play as well as we did (Tuesday) we can matchup with anybody."

Last year, Saint Stephen's fell to Tampa Prep 2-0 in the regional semifinals, and the Falcons are hoping the Terrapins will win its regional semifinal contest against St. Petersburg Shorecrest.

"It's more than just a regional final," Delgado said. "Tampa Prep knocked us off last year, and it's what we've been waiting for all year."