Merritt Island boys fall in 3A soccer final

Merritt Island boys fall in 3A soccer final


Merritt Island boys fall in 3A soccer final


DELAND — Brevard County high school soccer had to settle for a double crown for the 2016-17 season.

Merritt Island fans console players after Saturday's Class 3A final in DeLand.

Merritt Island fans console players after Saturday’s Class 3A final in DeLand.

Merritt Island fell to Daytona Beach Seabreeze on Saturday in the Class 3A boys soccer championship at Spec Martin Stadium, 2-0.

Area schools, including Merritt Island’s own girls squad, had won state titles on Thursday and Friday, the first two of three teams playing in 2017 state finals during the week.

Saturday’s shot at victory appeared to be up for grabs as the Mustangs’ advantage was their ability to generate multiple shots despite not finding the net. Meanwhile, Seabreeze appeared quicker to the ball through much of the game.

Merritt Island girls win 3A soccer final

The Sandcrabs (22-1) scored the only goal of the first half when the ball ricocheted in off a Mustangs player, 26:03 before intermission. In the same half, a pair of Merritt Island shots from well outside the penalty box sailed just over the crossbar.

West Shore opened the tournament for Brevard on Thursday afternoon, beating Tampa Berkeley Prep, 1-0 in the Class 2A final, also at Spec Martin Stadium. It was the second championship in Wildcats history. West Shore had also defeated the Bucs in 2012, 3-2 in overtime, back in 2012 in Tampa.

Then, the Merritt Island girls, in the state tournament for the fourth consecutive season, won their first title since 2010 on Friday, but it took overtime and more. After going scoreless through regulation and two overtime periods, the Mustangs went to penalty kicks and came away wifh a 4-2 edge for a 1-0 win and the 3A trophy.

The boys team, which finished its season at 22-2 with Saturday’s defeat, had won a pair of state titles, those coming in 2009 and 2014.

This year’s Mustangs had been forced to battle to the state final via the road. Perfect through the regular season, Merritt Island was upset by Titusville in the District 12-3A tournament.

Yet, the team won four postseason road games to reach the title game, where they managed to shut down three of four double-digit goal scorers for the Sandcrabs. The fourth, Franco Perez, made the comeback cause tougher in the second half.

Perez scored at 27:33 of the second half when he landed a shot in the upper right corner of the net.

The Mustangs offense manufactured fewer shots on goal in the second half. After the deficit went to two, Merritt Island worked quickly for chances at a comeback but could not manage a clear shot in the late going.

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