LAKEWOOD RANCH — Vito Bavaro could not have scripted it better.
The Lakewood Ranch High boys soccer coach is two wins away from reaching his 100th career win. And, the Mustangs are only two games away from the program’s first state championship.
Lakewood will make its first Final Four appearance Feb. 14 at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne.
The Mustangs will face Melbourne at 12:30 p.m. in the Class 4A state semifinals. The winner will advance to the state championship at 3 p.m. Feb. 15, to face the winner of the other state semifinal between Fleming Island and Delray Beach Atlantic.
The Mustangs earned a berth in the state semifinals after beating North Port 3-2 in overtime of the Class 4A-Region 3 semifinals Feb. 4 and Seminole 5-3 in the 4A-3 finals Feb. 7.
Ryan Sollazzo and Felipe Dangond each scored a pair of goals during the two-game stretch. Reese Riggins, Ben Wilson, Connor Franko and Schmid Payen each added a goal for the Mustangs. Payen’s golden goal off the bench in overtime propelled Lakewood into the regional finals for only the second time in school history.
“It is an honor and a privilege to coach these boys,” Bavaro says. “We seem to be the team of destiny, as we fight every game to win a state title. I am so proud of our team, and we are going to do our best to win the state title.”
With its first regional title under its belt, Lakewood now will prepare for its first Final Four appearance.
Follow us on Twitter at Jen_Observer and on Facebook at Jen Blanco (Observer) and the East County Observer for live updates on all of the action from Melbourne. Pick up a copy of the Feb. 20 issue of the East County Observer for a full story on the Mustangs’ historic run.
Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].