NEW PORT RICHEY – It took over 100 minutes of play to determine who would advance to the FHSAA 3A, Region 2 semi-final match.
The opening of the game saw the home-standing Royal Knights jump to a fast 1-0 lead. In the 16th minute they would add to that lead with their second score of the night.
Nature Coast, behind by two, didn’t wait long. Just one minute after the second Knights goal, the Sharks broke the ice in the 17th minute. They would add another before the half and go to the break with the score at 2.
The second half turned into a scoreless defensive battle that would send the game to a 20-minute overtime period, but just as in the second half both squads played cautiously resulting in a tie after the extra 10 minutes of play sending the game to a Penalty Kick shoot-out to determine the winner.
River Ridge prevailed in the penalty kick to win the contest 3-2. The Knights goals were scored by Antonio Federico, Coby Voranse and Mason Martin. Martin had two for the game, his 3rd and forth on the season. The Sharks had not posted any game stats at press time.
River Ridge will now have to face District 8 winner Pasco who have yet to lose a game this season. Earlier this year the Pirates defeated the Knights at W.F. Edwards stadium in Dade City 3-0, however the FHSAA system of determining home field somehow pays no attention to head-to-head records or overall records. The Pirates at 20-0-3 must go on the road to face River Ridge who are currently 9-6-2 Saturday to determine the Region 2 finalist.