Gulliver’s attacking style of play has yielded plenty of scoring chances this season.
And quite often in the playoffs, Bryan Ruiz-Unger has capitalized whenever he’s been in possession of the ball.
On Tuesday afternoon, Ruiz-Unger found the back of the net twice to deliver Gulliver’s latest postseason victory. This time, Gulliver ousted American Heritage-Delray 3-2 in a Region 4-2A boys’ soccer final at the Raiders’ home field.
“Bryan is our team captain for a reason, and he’s been playing his best in the playoffs,” Gulliver coach Matias Asorey said.
“He’s our only starting senior, and he’s kept our guys focused.”
With the victory, Gulliver avenged a loss last season to the Stallions in the same round and by the same score.
Gulliver (18-2-3) advanced to the state semifinal round for the first time since 2006, the last season it won a state championship. The Raiders will host Tampa Berkeley Prep on Friday at 3 p.m. at Gulliver.
“Either opponent presents a physical and direct type of game,” Asorey said. “As long as we keep dominating and attacking like we have every game, we’ll be OK.
“We’re going to win or lose playing our style.”
The Raiders outshot Heritage 17-7 and had 11 crosses near the goal to generate scoring chances.
Ruiz-Unger has flourished in Gulliver’s constant attack mode, scoring the game-winning goals in the team’s previous two victories against La Salle and Ransom Everglades.
With 4:18 left in the first half, Ruiz-Unger gave Gulliver a 2-0 edge when he put back a rebound after Luis Diego’s shot was blocked. The score came exactly 23 minutes after junior Mark Verwaay scored on a similar play to open the scoring.
Heritage (19-4-2) cut Gulliver’s lead to 2-1 with 34 minutes left when Greg Joseph scored off a cross from Jeff Joseph.
But Ruiz-Unger made a big play again with 14:22 left to give Gulliver enough of a cushion to hang on. Sophomore Kiko Poleo delivered a ball to Ruiz-Unger, who then drew a foul inside the box that resulted in a penalty kick. Ruiz-Unger easily converted his team-high 14th goal of the season.
Heritage scored again with 5:30 remaining, but Gulliver did not allow any more serious scoring chances down the stretch.
“We got a little complacent there at the end when we should have put the game away,” Asorey said. “That’s something we can’t afford to do.”
• Monsignor Pace 4, Coral Springs Charter 0: Cassandra LeMieux won singles 8-0. Janette Lisende won singles 8-0.
Jennifer Gomez won singles 8-6. Cassandra Lemieux and Janette Josvany won doubles 6-0
MONSIGNOR PACE 17, ARCHBISHOP CURLEY 0 (3)
WP: Briana Heredia 4K. LP: J Raybum. Top performer: Briana Heredia. MP 1-0
TERRA 11, CORAL PARK 1
WP: Tayler Sanchez 5K. Top performers: Gabrielle Brito 2-4, 2 RBI. Samantha Diaz 3-3, 3 RBI. Tayler Sanchez
LOURDES 8, FERGUSON 2
WP: Amanda Marrero. Top performers: Amanda Senra 2-3, 3 runs. Nina Cruz 3-3, 3 RBI. LOU 1-1
• District 14-2A semifinal — Hebrew Academy 59, Northwest Christian 26 – HEB (16-6): Abramowitz 25, Esformes 11, Schechter 5, Moyal 4, Dahan 4, Paul 3, Masin 3, Furst 2, Meyerson 2. NWC: Jones 12, Robinson 4, Michel 4, Mincey 3, Rogers 2, Thomas 1. Halftime: HEB 37-9. Three-pointers: Esformes, Masin, Jones, Mincey. Rebounds: Abramowitz 16. Assists: Schechter 6. Steals: Abramowitz 2