By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports
ENGLEWOOD — A goalkeeper can only do so much.
Lemon Bay High School’s Shane Garner faced shot after shot Tuesday night from a relentless Cape Coral attack. He saved a lot of shots — 19 in fact — but his effort wasn’t enough.
The Seahawks got two goals from Kevin Retana and outshot the Manta Rays 39-9 to cruise to a 6-1 victory in District 3A-13 action at Veterans Stadium. Four other players also scored for Cape Coral, which rallied from an early one-goal deficit.
“It takes a toll on you after awhile,” said Garner of facing so many shots. “It comes down to fundamentals and trying to get your defense to pull together but we were just off tonight.”
It looked good early for Lemon Bay (2-6, 1-4 District 3A-13) as Liam Ryan scored a goal on the game’s very first shot in the third minute against goalkeeper Antonio Garcia-Castro, who finished with three saves. But Cape Coral (8-2-2, 2-1) dominated possession for the rest of the game and tied the match on Retana’s first goal in the 20th minute, thanks to an assist from Juan Parra.
The Seahawks would take the lead for good seconds before halftime when Jacob Baker sent a throw-in into the penalty box and found Hernandez, who headed it over Garner and into the net.
Somehow, despite 19 shots on goal, Cape Coral only led 2-1 at halftime.
“We played an excellent first half. I thought the first half was very good,” Lemon Bay coach Emilio Baradith said. “They got a lucky shot with the header in the second goal right at the last second of the first half but then after that they were just tired.”
Lemon Bay played without four players and entered the game with just 14 in uniform, compared to 22 for Cape Coral. As fatigued started to set in during the second half, the Seahawks converted more of the same looks they saw in the first.
Retana scored again in the 50th minute and Jose Parra virtually put the game away in the 59th minute with a goal from the top of the penalty box to extend Cape Coral’s lead to 4-1.
Adao Miranda pushed the lead to four with a goal in the 65th minute on a follow off a rebound and Matias Rodas finished off the night for Cape Coral with a penalty kick in the 77th minute, courtesy of a Lemon Bay handball.
“They got tired and ran over in the second half. That’s all that happened,” Baradith said. “We started very well. We scored first, we were controlling the game and then we got a team who is very patient and knows how to play and knows how to get the game going. My team got a little too nervous. I don’t know how to describe it but they get so desperate because they want to win so bad but they make too many mistakes.”