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Red Knights overcome early deficit to down Seahawks in girls soccer semifinals
February 11, 2019

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If the North Fort Myers Red Knights needed a wake-up call in Friday's regional girls soccer semifinals, they got one.

Cape Coral's Katelyn Bly curled a corner kick into the North goal less than two minutes into the contest.

"I think it bothered them a little bit," Red Knights' coach Nick Erickson said. "It woke them up for sure, which is always something that you worry about as a coach. You know the old adage, 'It's tough to beat a team three times.'

"Obviously Cape Coral came out, and they played well, they played hard. They caught a break with that goal, but that's what they needed. You can't say enough about their effort tonight. I thought they did a really nice job."

From there, the Red Knights (20-2) took control for a 4-1 victory and a showdown with Plantation American Heritage (17-1-1) on Tuesday for a spot in the Class 3A state final four.

American Heritage dominated Pembroke Pines Charter 4-0 in the other region semifinal.

It took a while, however, for North to take control. The game was tight until the final 10 minutes, when the Red Knights scored two of their four goals.

Hailey Turner drew North even at the 25:34 mark, pouncing on a rebound and driving it into the net.

The Red Knights put heavy pressure on the Cape defense and goaltender Blaire Dupuy for the rest of the match, but Dupuy and a stubborn defense led by senior captain Katlyn Harrison frustrated North for much of the night.

Dupuy "played phenomenal," Erickson said. "I went to two players after the game, number eight (Harrison) and the keeper. She had one stop on (Emilee) Hauser that might have been the best stop I've seen all year long.

"She made some really nice saves, really nice saves. She should be proud of herself."

But North kept the ball on Cape's end of the field for most of the night, and the bombardment took its toll.

Hauser scored at the 28:31 mark of the second half. Dupuy made the initial save on North's star player, but Michelle Horan sent the rebound right back to Hauser. She didn't miss a second time.

Makenzy Dupree scored with 9:37 remaining, and Taylor Metzger added icing to the cake with a goal in the final minute of play.

"We came out here as the underdog again," Cape Coral coach Jamie Reimer said. "We tried to change things up, make sure that we didn't sit back on our heels."

Reimer said the Seahawks' strategy relied on getting some set pieces, and Bly's goal came off just such a play. However, despite Reimer's frequent calls for his players to work the ball into the corners of the North offensive zone to earn corner kicks, there weren't many other set pieces for Cape the rest of the way.

"North's a great team," Reimer said. "They move the ball extremely well, they make other teams move, and it wears them down.

"I'm super excited with the season we had, how my girls played and how we finished."

Despite a less-than-sparkling 10-12-2 record overall, the Seahawks came up big when it mattered. That included a win against Mariner, ending a long drought of not making to the district final, and beating District 3A-14 champion Barron Collier in the first round of the state playoffs.

"We had a good run, and I'm very happy," Reimer said.

Region 2A-3

Bishop Verot 4, Oasis 0: The Vikings (16-1-4) advance to Tuesday's region final against Tampa Academy of the Holy Names with Friday's home victory. Holy Names (15-5-1) upended Tampa Berkley Prep 1-0 in the other semifinal. Nicole Gulati scored twice for Verot, which also got goals from Nina Gulati and Ella Sarnac. Sarnac's goal gave the Vikings a 1-0 halftime lead. Oasis ended its season with a 13-4 mark.

Friday

Girls basketball

District 5A-10

Neumann 51, Bishop Verot 44: The Celtics ended a five-game losing streak against the Vikings at the most opportune time, giving Neumann a district championship. In a game played at Oasis, Neumann (22-5) led for much of the way. Verot briefly led 37-36 with five minutes to play. The Celtics regained the lead for good with 2:17 remaining. The stunning loss left Bishop Verot at 24-2, and going on the road to open the Class 5A state playoffs against District 5A-9 champion Tampa Brooks DeBartoto Collegiate on Thursday.

Region 6A-3

Mariner: The Tritons will travel to Bradenton Southeast next Thursday to open the state Class 5A playoffs. Southeast won Friday's District 6A-11 final. Mariner fell to Lely in the District 6A-12 tourney final on Thursday. It's Mariner's first berth in the state girls basketball tournament since 2002.

Boys basketball

Cypress Lake 60, Bishop Verot 58: The Vikings (14-11) dropped a game to a 9-16 Cypress Lake squad in the teams' regular-season finale. A 22-9 third quarter gave the Panthers a lead they just managed to maintain at game's end. Carlens Etienne scored 25 points for Cypress. Israel Torres scored 16 points and Lucas Tejera 11 for Bishop Verot. The Vikings are home against Neumann on Tuesday in the opening round of the District 5A-10 tournament.

Community Christian 74, North Fort Myers 52: It wasn't a pleasant end to the regular season for North, which fell on the road to a 13-14 Mustangs squad. The Red Knights (4-20) open District 7A-10 tournament play Monday at Charlotte.

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