For a few moments Saturday night, Gulliver’s boys’ soccer players vented their frustrations on the sideline.
Despite controlling most of its Region 4-2A semifinal match against rival Ransom Everglades, Gulliver found itself tied at one goal each after 80 minutes.
But as he has more than once this season, senior midfielder Bryan Ruiz-Unger gave Gulliver the relief it needed.
In the seventh minute of overtime, Ruiz-Unger controlled a ball about 20 yards in front of the Ransom goal and fired a quick shot over the reach of keeper Jake Deuel to deliver a 2-1 sudden-death victory for Gulliver that sent it to the regional finals for the second consecutive season.
Gulliver (17-2-3) will host American Heritage-Delray Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. in a rematch of last year’s regional final won by Heritage in Delray Beach.
“My teammates told me if you get a good look just shoot it,” said Ruiz-Unger, who scored his 12th goal of the season and his second game-winner in as many playoff matches. “I did, and I got it through. This happens to us a lot. We get a little frustrated, but it’s for the best because it makes us get on each other’s case and be more confident as a team.”
Gulliver defeated Ransom (22-3-3) for the third time in four meetings this season, with the only setback coming in the District 16-2A final won by Ransom in penalty kicks.
During the season series, Gulliver outscored Ransom 11-2.
On Saturday, Gulliver got the first score in the first minute of the second half on a goal by Andy Alvarez that came off a rebound following a shot by Alberto Poleo.
Gulliver had numerous shots on goal throughout the match and controlled possession, but Deuel kept Ransom in it with 10 saves.
His efforts allowed Ransom to tie the match in the 50th minute on a great individual effort by Francisco Carrera-Justiz, who maneuvered downfield and angled a shot past Gulliver keeper Esteban Sapetnitzky.
Gulliver nearly took the lead with 16 minutes remaining in regulation when Luis Diego headed in a ball. But the goal was nullified by an offside call.
• Region 4-5A semifinal – South Dade 2, Coral Gables 1: Carlos Leal didn’t realize until a couple of weeks ago, how long the soccer playoffs were.
“We never saw past districts before,” Leal said. “We never even thought about regionals or state. District was the round where it ended for us.”
Leal helped South Dade’s postseason journey go a little further at Tropical Park as he and Timothy Hamby scored the goals needed to help the Bucs reach their first regional final.
South Dade (9-7-2) will travel to play defending Class 5A state champion Weston Cypress Bay Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“Our formation switch late in the season has made a big difference,” Hamby said. “But our passion for the game is what keeps us going. Down in Homestead, we don’t have club soccer like other schools so all we have is this team.”
Leal lobbed a ball from 30 yards away near the corner of the goal area and it landed over the head of Coral Gables goalkeeper Joseph Paz in the first minute of the game. Hamby added another in the 42nd minute.
Coral Gables cut the deficit to one later in the half when Michael Hernandez headed in a through ball from Kevin Lopez. The Cavaliers (7-6-5) thought for a moment they had tied the match in the final minute when it appeared Alexander Oliva had scored on a header off a corner kick. But the goal was nullified by an offside call.