Sports notebook: Nature Coast wins Coaches Cup

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

The fourth annual Coaches Cup, Hernando County’s boys soccer tournament, certainly had a familiar feel in Friday night’s final.
That’s because for the third year in a row, Nature Coast and Weeki Wachee met with the trophy on the line, and for the second straight season the Sharks came out on top, with a 2-0 victory at Springstead’s Booster Stadium.
Weeki Wachee goalie Jake Brooks goes airborne to save a shot by Nature Coast's Gil Delgado. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Chris Reckner registered a goal that deflected off the keeper, and Vinny Stulec put one in off an assist by Gil Delgado to account for the scoring.
This was the third meeting of the season between the county and Class 3A, District 7 rivals. They tied twice, 1-1 and 2-2 on Nov. 30 and Dec. 5.
Weeki Wachee's Bailey Hypes takes a tumble battling Nature Coast's Anderson Bamaca for possession. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

“It was a great match,” Nature Coast head coach Ian Wald said. “Weeki Wachee is a strong side, and we know it’s going to be another tough one again if we see them in districts.
“Any time you can be consistently successful and have your hard work pay off, it’s exciting and a proud moment. But districts is the real goal.”
These two teams reached the championship match behind semifinal wins on Wednesday, also at Springstead. The Hornets (9-3-5) knocked off the third-seeded host Eagles, 2-0, with goals by Maikol Santana and Karsyn Roberts. Joseph Raguso and Harry Flanagan each had an assist. Jake Brooks had 10 saves in the shutout of the Eagles (12-7-4).
Weeki Wachee's Matthew Armstrong heads a ball away from the Hornets' goal against Nature Coast on Friday night. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

The Sharks (11-4-4) collected a 6-3 triumph over Hernando. Hunter Reid and Stulec both scored twice, while Donovan Martinez and Zachary Gates added a goal apiece. Jaxsen Soto had two assists, and Reckner and Tyler Dzierzawski each notched one assist.
Weeki Wachee's Glovanni Gusrcia sends the ball down the field. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

On Monday, the fourth-seeded Leopards downed fifth-seeded Central, 5-0, to advance to play Nature Coast.
In the final week of the regular season, Weeki Wachee’s girls soccer team played a full slate, going 2-2 across four matches. It started with an 8-0 win at Gulf on Monday, featuring two goals and four assists by Lauren Mullen, two goals and three assists by Reilley Bain, and two goals plus an assist from Marleen Ohr.
That was followed by a 4-0 victory at Central on Wednesday. On Thursday, the Lady Hornets (9-11-1) fell at Lecanto, 5-2, then lost at Sunlake on Friday, 8-0.
Nature Coast (7-11) topped Fivay on Monday, 4-2, as Marina Augugliaro scored a pair of goals, but lost to Citrus on Thursday, 3-0, and Lecanto on Friday, 6-0.
Hernando Christian Academy’s perfect season in girls basketball continued, with the Lady Lions (18-0 overall, 8-0 2A-4) collecting four more wins. They defeated Genesis Prep on Monday, 45-36, Clearwater-Lakeside Christian on Tuesday, 44-22, and St. Petersburg-Keswick Christian on Thursday, 37-29.
On Friday, HCA won by forfeit over Ocala-St. John Lutheran, a district foe ravaged by injury and forced to call off the game. Cayla Phillips averaged 14.3 points to pace the Lady Lions over the three games, and Shyann McElwain had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds versus Keswick Christian.
Hernando (12-6 overall, 6-5 6A-7) lost at Crystal River on Monday, 53-46, then rebounded to beat Lecanto on Tuesday, 43-37, and Citrus on Friday, 54-40. Taylor Neblock had 14 points and seven rebounds against the Lady Panthers, and 15 points and seven boards versus the Lady Hurricanes. Ali Bronson totaled 11 points and five steals in the loss to the Lady Pirates.
Weeki Wachee (15-6 overall, 7-3 6A-7) also fell to Crystal River, 66-51 on Tuesday, then bested South Sumter on Thursday, 63-46.
Springstead (9-4 overall, 1-3 7A-8) notched a 61-53 win at Lecanto on Wednesday, getting 25 points and seven steals out of Sarah Vo plus 14 points and seven steals from Tierra Houston. However, the Lady Eagles suffered a 74-47 district loss at Sunlake on Friday.
On the boys side, the Eagles (10-6 overall, 2-3 7A-8) split a pair of district tilts, a 59-50 loss at Land O’ Lakes on Tuesday and a 59-44 win over Sunlake on Friday. Against the Gators, Sincere Torain and Phil Merrill both scored 14 points, while Robert Gomez tallied 10 points and nine rebounds. Jeffery Cotnoir pulled down 13 boards, 10 of them offensive.
In the victory over the Seahawks, Gomez posted 11 points, six rebounds and two steals. Noah Torkelson added 10 points and Cotnoir 10 rebounds.
Central (10-7 overall, 7-2 6A-7) collected a 66-46 win at Pasco on Monday and a 65-50 victory at Lecanto on Friday. Through 13 games, junior Caleb Johnson was pacing the Bears averaging 22.8 points.
Hernando’s wrestling team upended host Springstead in a dual meet on Wednesday, 39-30. The Leopards went on to win Citrus’ Ed Kilpatrick Classic on Saturday, scoring 190 to far outdistance Belleview with 134.5. Josh Hulse at 120 pounds and Harry Williams at 182 both captured their respective weight classes.
Follow Chris Bernhardt Jr. on Twitter @cpbernhardtjr.

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