High School Sports

Prep soccer | Loera leads Tigers past Warriors

Often, a game's outcome can be determined by someone being in the right place at the right time.

Wednesday night, Raul Loera was the someone in the right place at the right time for the Tigers. As a result, Palmetto was able to come away with a Class 4A-District 10 semifinal victory over the Osceola Warriors.

With the 2-1 win, Palmetto advances to Friday's district final against the Northeast Vikings, a 2-1 overtime winner over Seminole High.

Palmetto improved its record to 10-3-3, while Osceola finishes with a 11-2-5 mark.

Wednesday's match was essentially a repeat of the regular-season matchup between the teams that had a 1-1 result.

"They wanted to win this game just as badly as we wanted to win this game," Palmetto coach Mike Meehan said. "All credit to Osceola for the job they did, but also all credit to the boys of Palmetto who competed and played as hard and as well as they have all year. It was competitive for the entire 80 minutes. There was just no letup in this game."

The Tigers scored first in the contest, getting a Candido Calvillo goal with 2:52 left in the opening half. Loera would then score what would prove to be the game winner at the 30:36 mark of the second half on a shot that deflected off the right post and into the net.

"We practice being in the right place at the right time," Meehan said. "That breakaway goal is a quick little flick off the forward who is receiving the ball to the forward who breaks

through for the breakaway."

Osceola would create the final margin on a John Hockin goal with 28:22 left in the game.

"It was a tale of two halves," Osceola coach Al Sousa said. "I thought Palmetto had most of the play in the first half and I thought we had most of the play in the second half. We created some dangerous chances in the second half, but weren't able to finish that final ball."

Osceola keeper Louis Tavares and Matt Simmons for Palmetto went the distance in the nets.

"Both keepers were outstanding," Meehan said. "For us, Matt Simmons had the best game I have seen him play as a Palmetto Tiger. I was very happy for Matt."