Plant 1, Lake Mary 0
The Panthers, who made the playoffs for the first time since 2013, continued their charmed postseason run by reaching the state championship match for the first time.
It was not easy. Locked in a scoreless state semifinal battle, Plant finally broke through in the second half when Joey Pleinis scored the lone goal of the match.
Yannick Parkes helped the Panthers maintain their lead by recording four saves to preserve the shutout.
Plant, ranked eighth in 7A by MaxPreps, enters Saturday’s state final on an eight-match win streak.
Niceville 3, Mitchell 2
For the second straight season, the Mustangs made the state semifinals.
Once again, Niceville stood in the way.
The rematch turned into another frustrating result
Down 2-0 in the first half, Mitchell mounted a furious rally. Mathias Pulido and Aidan Meyer each scored in the second half to tie the match.
But that is as close as the Mustangs would get to reaching the state final for the first since winning the program’s only title in 2013.
Jesuit 2, Jacksonville Stanton 1
The names change, but the results remain the same.
After graduating the bulk of its starting lineup, including Carson Bien, the 5A state player of the year, the defending state champion Tigers simply reloaded for another title.
The new group maintained the program’s lofty status. Entering last week’s state semifinals, Jesuit was ranked first in 5A, first overall in the state and fourth nationally.
Still, the Tigers had come back to return to the final.
Down 1-0 at the half, Jesuit rallied with goals by Aris Pantzalis and Baylen Young to take the lead. Phillip Falcon III made five saves to help seal the win.
Tampa Catholic 8, Jacksonville Bolles 1
After falling short in last season’s state championship match, the Crusaders have made it back to the final.
This time, Tampa Catholic is favored to win the school’s first boys soccer title, especially after its performance in last week’s state semifinal.
There was a scoring bonanza with Crusader goals coming in bunches against Jacksonville Bolles. Six players scored, including two goals from Marcello Valbuena.
Jack O’ Leary and Xavier Floyd each had two assists.
Tampa Catholic enters Thursday’s final ranked first in 3A, second overall in the state and seventh nationally.
State final schedule
All matches at DeLand’s Spec Martin Stadium. Admission is $9 in advance, $12 on day of event. Parking is free.
Plant (18-3-1) vs. Naples Gulf Coast (19-3-2), 1 Saturday
Jesuit (17-1-2) vs. Belen Jesuit (17-3-1), 4 Saturday
Tampa Catholic (24-2) vs. Miami Westminster Christian (11-3-2), 7 Thursday