Prep soccer playoffs are well underway in Pasco County and there are two teams left standing. Mitchell and Land O’ Lakes are the two clubs and are now in the region finals round. We take a closer look at the two matchups the teams have this week, as they make bids to reach the Elite 4 of their respective classification.
Class 6A Region 2
Mitchell (18-6-1) vs. Naples Palmetto Ridge (13-9-1): The Mustangs are once again closing in on the elusive state semifinal stage, one they are no strangers to being on. Mitchell can punch it’s ticket to the Final Four of Class 6A when they face Naples Palmetto Ridge on Tuesday night. The Mustangs are coming off an exciting 2-1 victory over favored Wiregrass Ranch and will have plenty of confidence heading in. Mustangs are led in scoring by Aidan Meyer’s 10 goals and the team is 6-3-1 on the road.
Class 5A Region 2
Land O’ Lakes (11-5-2) vs. Tampa Jesuit (15-1-2): Land O’ Lakes faces a tall task in reaching the Class 5A state semifinals and to make it there, they won’t have to travel too far. The Gators will take on the one-loss Tigers down in Tampa and it figures to be a down-to-the-wire kind of game. The good thing for Land O’ Lakes is there’s familiarity against Jesuit, as the Tigers defeated the Gators 2-0 during the regular season. Connor Hutchinson leads the team in scoring at 10 goals.
Class 4A Region 2
Weeki Wachee (17-3) at Cape Coral Mariner (19-5-2): To get a berth at states, the Hornets must get by the Tritons, whom have only lost five matches all season long. Mariner’s five losses came against Naples Gulf Coast, New Port Richey Mitchell, Fort Myers Riverdale and Naples. The Tritons are led in the goal scoring department by the duo of Nicco Ramirez and Santiago Guerrero, whom have combined for 44 goals scored. Stopping the duo will be the top task for Weeki Wachee, as the Hornets have been a very stingy unit on defense all season long. Weeki Wachee has only yielded 19 goals through 20 games and Mariner has given up a total of 30 in 26 matches. The Hornets also have their own duo to worry about in scoring goals, as they feature Jacob Kelly and Seth Tarbox. Kelly has a team-high 33 goals and Tarbox is second with 24, respectively. The commute from Hernando County to Lee County is no easy one, but the road to states was always going to run through the Gulf Coast region. Winner of the matchup will take on the winner of the Region 1 final between Arnold and Menendez.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.