The Raiders and Chargers will advance to their respective regional tournaments after picking up wins Tuesday night.
After Tuesday night’s action on the soccer pitch came to a close, nobody was more relieved than the boys of Plant City High School and the girls of Strawberry Crest High School.
Both teams won their respective districts’ championship games Tuesday night.
These two teams are also somewhat bound by coincidence: scoring twice against the Bloomingdale Bulls was enough to get each job done Tuesday night, and both teams got to this point by beating Tampa Bay Tech in their district semifinal games late last week.
The Raiders found themselves in a nail-biter of a game that went to extra time. Miguel Alvarez gave Plant City a 1-0 lead in the first half, but Plant City gave up the equalizer in the second half and the Raiders’ offensive efforts to get back in the lead weren’t enough in regulation. Fortunately for the Raiders, David Ruiz netted the golden goal for the win in just one period of extra time.
Strawberry Crest, on the other hand, did not need to worry about any overtime action and dispatched Bloomingdale with a 2-0 shutout win. Ezra Carpenter scored one goal in each half and Crest played lockdown defense to lock up their second consecutive district championship.
If these teams’ similar district tournament experiences weren’t enough, fear not: there’s plenty more where that came from. Both finished the regular season with just two losses in regulation. Both have similar overall records (14-2-1 for the Raiders, 13-2 for the Chargers) after Tuesday’s action. Both started the 2020-21 season with 10-game win streaks between Nov. 10, 2020 and Jan. 6 of this year. Both are now riding two-game win streaks after losing their regular-season finales.
If both teams are superstitious at all, they may consider rooting for one another from this point on. Crest will begin its regional run on Feb. 16 and Plant City will be back in action Feb. 17.