It was a rather windy game between the Key West Conchs and the Gulliver Prep Raiders on Saturday afternoon. After the game was postponed on Friday, both teams were ready to go for what was expected to be an intense District 16 Championship game. It was all that and more as the regulated high school time of 80 minutes wasn’t enough to produce a winner. However, the Raiders escaped a close one, winning 2-1 over the Conchs in overtime.
“I thought it was a good game. Key West gave us a good game and it was great. Hopefully we play better in our next game,” said Gulliver Prep head coach Matias Asorey.
“I thought it was an interesting game. We played really well, they played really well. It was an unfortunate loss, I think we could have beat them. One of our players received a red card on an awful call by the ref, but we should have played better down the stretch,” said Key West head coach Marc Pierre.
The game started out slow as both sides had early opportunities to score. Conchs were first to strike as Bidieu Noel shot past the keeper and gave Key West a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute. Gulliver Prep had multiple chances to score before halftime, but at the half, the Conchs were able to hold on to a one goal lead.
In the second half, the intensity increased as Gulliver was all business. Within the first two minutes of the second half, the Raiders tied the game up after a ball flew past the defense and Key West was unable to recover. At the final water break mark in the 60th minute, the score remained tied at one.
Both Alistair Fergus and Brian Coward had last minute shots on target, but were unable to score. Gulliver Prep struggled to score as well and the game was headed to overtime.
“In a game like this, we just kept on fighting. The wind really dictated this game, but if we want to keep winning, we must play better,” said Asorey.
“The wind was huge. It was impossible to play the ball in the air because the wind would just take it and goes the opposite direction. When you’re with the wind, it’s so much better,” said Pierre.
Despite the loss, Key West finishes as the District 16 runner-up and will face Ransom Everglades, the winner of District 15, in the 2A Regional Quarterfinals on Thursday on the road.
“It was an unfortunate result but honestly it was a good tough game. We need to go into the next game confident and try to win. After this, it’s win or go home so we will go home and practice hard before the next game,” said Pierre.
Gulliver Prep advances to the 2A Regional Quarterfinals and will host MAST Academy, the runner-up of District 15. Ransom Everglades defeated MAST Academy 2-0 in the District 15 Final on Friday. There is a scenario where Key West and Gulliver Prep play again in the 2A Regional semifinals. If both teams win on Thursday, they would meet in the semis.
However, one thing is certain, if Key West wants to play more soccer and extend their season, they must keep on winning. As Key West head coach Marc Pierre pointed out, it is win or go home from here on out for the Conchs.