Celebration draws familiar foe George Jenkins in Saturday's 5A-3 semifinal
Fernando Abreu scored twice and his Celebration teammates held off a second half rally as the Storm soccer team defeated Jupiter, 4-2, in a Region 5A-3 quarterfinal playoff game Wednesday at La Rosa Field.
The victory sets up tonight’s regional semifinal game against Lakeland George Jenkins at 7 p.m. at Celebration in what should be playoff soccer is all about. The Storm (19-1-2) defeated Jenkins (16-3-2) 3-1 in overtime at last week’s District 9 championship game and also beat the Eagles, 2-1, in the regular season.
“This will be the sixth time in the last two years and for also marks the second straight year we have played Jenkins in both the district championship game and the regionals,” Storm Coach Chad Boudreaux said. “All of our games with them have been high-spirited and extremely competitive affairs. Coach (Tanner) Mosher does a great job over there and it should be another challenge for our players.”
Advancing Wednesday not an easy task. Although Celebration got early goals from sophomore Nicola Romano, senior Matheus Machado and Abreu to build a dominating 3-0 lead, The Storm surrendered two goals in less than a minute as Jupiter cut the lead to 3-2 with 20 minutes remaining.
Applying a lot of pressure, Jupiter would almost tie the game with seven minutes remaining. Troy Feminal, who scored Jenkins second goal, beat Celebration goalie Horacio Parisi to the ball and dribbled it past him but sent a potential game-tying goal to the right of a wide open net.
Moments later, the Storm countered and Abreu connected from inside the 18-yard box to put the game away.
“We lost our focus for a few minutes and let them back in the game,” Boudreaux said. “We got too comfortable with the lead and that’s a problem that has plagued us all season. We were fortunate that they didn’t get that equalizer. I was proud of how we came back, got that fourth goal, and then finished the game.”
Boudreaux added that fatigue may have played a role in Jenkins second half rally.
“We played three tough games last week, including an overtime game,” He said. “I really think that we lost our legs in the second half. But we need to understand that it’s not going to get an easier. We have another tough game (tonight).”
For the contest, Celebration led Jupiter (12-5-2) in shots on goal (9-4) and had a 3-1 edge in corner kicks.