About a half hour before his team was to host the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 4A Region 6 boys soccer quarterfinal, Melbourne High coach Jerry McCabe watched the cold rain fall and spoke of how the flu and injuries had affected his team.
It didn’t show, as the Bulldogs hammered Oak Ridge 7-0 to clinch their first playoff win since 2010 on Tuesday.
“We started playing really well last week; you could see it in practice,” McCabe said after the match. “We put together good play from the midfield to the forwards and thought that hopefully, we could keep that. We did tonight.”
Senior defender Micah Smoak, who scored two goals and notched an assist in the match, said he was “nervous before this game. Some of the players on this team have never won a regional game and we really wanted this one.”
It showed from the start, the majority of the match having been played in the Oak Ridge half.
Reid Ferguson got the Bulldogs on the board first, converting a throw-in from Owen Tworkowski. Smoak scored the first three minutes later on a ball from Jamie Carlson.
Melbourne went up 3-0 in the 16th minute when Smoak served the ball to Giovanni Ottomanelli, who netted again in the 27th minute, the ball having come from Carlson.
In the 55th minute, Smoak let fly from about 18 yards out for the Bulldogs’ fifth goal, and the sixth came in the 63rd on a neat one-two from Nate Grant to Kevin Corbeel. The final goal came two minutes later at the foot of Austin Lindenberg, unassisted.
So deft was Melbourne’s defense that its starting goalkeeper, Caleb Glover, didn’t have to make a save, and his late replacement, Jared Williams, made only one.
“It was nice to finally win a regional game,” said Spencer Tworkowski. “It is a great start.”
* The Viera High boys soccer team lost 2-1 in penalty kicks to Lake Nona in a Class 4A regional quarterfinal.
The Hawks came up short, 3-2 in the penalty kicks and finished the season at 11-6-2.