High School Sports

Canes, Noles cruise

BRADENTON - No letdowns. No upsets. No disappointments.

Consequently, there were no surprises Monday night at John Kiker Memorial Stadium, site of the Class 5A-District 12 boys soccer tournament.

The higher seeds reigned in the quarterfinals, with No. 1 Southeast topping North Port 3-0 hours after second-seeded Manatee routed Punta Gorda Charlotte 6-0.

Both teams are back at Southeast on Wednesday for the semifinals, with the Seminoles (12-7-1) facing Port Charlotte at 6 p.m. and Manatee (15-6-2) going up against Lakewood Ranch at 8 p.m. The Pirates beat Bayshore in overtime 1-0 on Monday, while the Mustangs beat Venice 5-1.

Monday night's result was especially gratifying for the Noles, who entered last year's tournament with the top seed and were bounced out of the first round by Bayshore.

"This was a big monkey we had to get off our back," Southeast coach Laszlo Halmi said. "Still, we're just going to take one game at a time. We don't look further than that."

It took some time for the Noles to break through Monday, peppering the Bobcats (7-10) from the opening kick. Finally, Francisco Hilerio struck roughly four minutes before halftime. He added another goal after the break, as did Fernando Hernandez, easing Halmi's mind.

"We played great. But the last touches, the finishing touches. . . . The production was not there, goal-wise," he said. "Finally, we start scoring . . ."

Southeast will now face the Pirates, the lone district team the Noles didn't beat this year - Port Charlotte played them to a 2-2 tie.

The Hurricanes, out for their second consecutive 5A-12 title, also left little in doubt. Christian Raudales and Rolino Alexis netted two goals apiece for the Canes, who will face the Mustangs on Wednesday in a rematch of last year's championship game.

"It's good to come out and play like this. We played hard, played tough," said Raudales, a junior who has 25 goals this year. "We lost some opportunities, but still, we came out on top."

Sean Pittman and Nick Winchell each scored for the Hurricanes, who are one step closer to defending district gold.

But similar to the Seminoles, the Canes aren't taking much for granted.

"Southeast came out strong. We had a hard game against them - Lakewood Ranch, the same thing," Raudales said. "Any team can come out on top. . . . Anything can happen."

Today's results

CLASS 5A-DISTRICT 12

Manatee 6,

Punta Gorda Charlotte 0

Southeast 3, North Port 0

Port Charlotte 1,

Bayshore 0 (OT)

Lakewood Ranch 5, Venice 1

CLASS 4A-DISTRICT 10

Sebring 2, Braden River 1

CLASS 2A-DISTRICT 12

Out-of-Door Academy 2,

Naples St. John Neumann 1

  Comments