LECANTO — Citrus capitalized on a lengthy man advantage to take a 2-1 win over Lecanto in boys soccer action Friday night.
Jarimyah Cook scored both goals for the Hurricanes (3-2-1), his second on a penalty kick midway through the second half that became the game winner. The Panthers (3-3) played a man down for most of the game after Blaise Bresnahan was blue carded after running into Citrus goalkeeper Santiago Mira. Bresnahan had been yellow carded earlier in the first half for a rough tackle.
The win is the third in a row for the Hurricanes, while the Panthers have dropped three straight. Cook said the team was determined to play better than it did in a 4-2 win against Hernando on Wednesday night.
“We put it all on the field. We worked hard. On Wednesday, we played Hernando; we didn’t play so well,” he said. “So we had to come out tonight and show how much effort we can give and how much chemistry we can have through 80 minutes.”
Panthers coach Doug Warren said he was pleased with how his team stayed in the game despite being shorthanded most of the night.
“When you play a man down for three quarters of the game, you get two (goals) on you, you got to chase. I mean, we got one back so I’m happy,” he continued. “They fought hard, they worked at it, and we gave it everything we had.”
The teams played tight early on with a few traded shots close-in, including a shot on a breakaway for Lecanto that was chipped over the goal. About 25 minutes into the game, Bresnahan was ejected after trying to chase down a ball on a send, colliding with Mira a second after the goalie grabbed the ball.
Bresnahan grabbed his head and hunched down near the turf before slowly walking off the field. The Panthers were able to keep the Hurricanes away from their goal for most of the remaining half, until about 15 seconds left in added time when Cook sent a free kick over the head of Panthers goalkeeper Connor Perez for the 1-0 lead.
Cook narrowly missed a shot wide right minutes into the second half before the teams again traded close calls on net. At about the 70-minute mark, Cook — taking a penalty kick from a Panthers handball in the penalty box — placed the kick low to Perez’s left for the 2-0 lead.
The Panthers immediately responded, with K-sea Quillen centering a pass into the penalty box that was deflected by a defender before Dominic Santinelli fired in for the 2-1 score. The Panthers were energized, but ran out of time to further capitalize.
Perez finished with eight saves on 10 shots, and Mira saved four of five shots. Cook said the ’Canes don’t have as many goal scorers as last season but continue to work, adding, “We’re training over (the holiday) break.”
Warren said his team will continue working and said the game was an improvement from the last two games. He added, “We’re building and things are going to get better for us.”