BY GENE NARDI
The Palm Beach Central High School boys varsity soccer team entered the District 11-5A playoff tournament last week as the second seed in the tournament and walked away as the district runner-up after falling to top-seeded Boca Raton High School 5-2 in the championship match at John I. Leonard High School on Friday, Jan. 24.
The Broncos (17-4-1) first had to get through seventh-seeded Wellington High School on Tuesday, Jan. 21, shutting out the Wolverines 5-0.
Palm Beach Central advanced to take on Royal Palm Beach High School in their semifinal match on Wednesday, Jan. 22. The Wildcats had shut out Spanish River 2-0 to face the Broncos.
Aly Cadet scored two goals for the Broncos against Royal Palm Beach. Eight minutes into the game, Cadet took a cross from Vincent Knuttson and found the back of the net for a 1-0 advantage.
The Broncos held the 1-0 lead at the half. In the 50th minute, Royal Palm Beach’s Ojay Nichol grabbed the equalizer, after a Bronco foul. A free kick by Daniel Sanchez sent the ball into the penalty area, and Nichol punched it in from the left side. Cadet scored his second goal minutes later to regain the lead and eventually a 2-1 win.
The victory sent the Broncos into the finals against top seed Boca Raton (20-1-2) last Friday night.
Palm Beach Central wasted no time in getting on the board, scoring twice within the first three minutes of the match.
Jethro Pierre pressured the Bobcat defense and put one just inside the near post for an early 1-0 lead. Shortly after, Frank Matos pressured the Boca keeper after a mishandled ball and drove it in for the 2-0 advantage.
The Broncos continued the pressure and played well defensively, until Boca broke through in the final minutes of the first half to tie the game 2-2.
The Broncos would not find the back of the net the rest of the match. Boca managed three more goals in the second half to clinch the district title 5-2 for the 12th straight time. Both teams qualified for the regional tournament.
Palm Beach Central earned the district runner-up title and traveled to Parkland to play Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Thursday night. Results were not available by press time.
ABOVE: Palm Beach Central’s Luis Alvarez and Royal Palm Beach’s Julian Lopez battle for the ball.