With heavy hearts of a fallen teammate on their minds, the Cypress Bay Lightning soccer players were not about to let a little thing like a 1-0 deficit with 15 minutes left in Tuesday night’s Region 4-5A final against Miami Beach get in its way.
Sure enough, Cypress Bay did exactly what Max Cardenas would’ve wanted it to do — stay strong for him and find a way to win it.
And there they were, after the game, thanks to a pair of goals in those last 15 minutes, including the game winner by Elias Bruzual with just two minutes left to pull out a 2-1 victory, celebrating and screaming “Max, Max, Max.”
Cardenas was a senior and slated to be one of the team leaders this season. But that all came to an end last September when he passed away after a bad fall during a skateboarding accident. His teammates have dedicated their season to his memory and were not about to see it come to a close Tuesday night at Cypress Bay High.
The Lightning (21-1-2) qualified for its sixth state final four in the last seven years and will host Vero Beach in a 5A state semifinal Friday at 7 p.m.
“There is no quit in us, we never give up and we weren’t going to give up for Max either,” said Bruzual, who took a deep throw-in pass from Mathias Pederson with two minutes left and managed to head it past Beach keeper Gabriel Suarez for the game-winner. “We pray for him before every game and ask him to help us out and we want to go all the way for him.”
Team captain Willie Fierro sure wants to win it. After the accident, he changed his jersey number to Cardenas’ number 12 and has been wearing it all season.
“I wanted to wear his number all season and dedicate this season to him,” said Fierro. “We huddled up after we fell behind, and said Max was with us and that we were doing this for him and honestly when I was out there, I felt like he was with us. I wanted to honor his memory. Losing a teammate is really intense for the whole team but I think in a positive way it brought us all together and has us where we are now.”
Cypress Bay tied the game with 14:49 left when David Corredor took a direct kick from 35 yards out that he laid perfectly in front of the net. Suarez came out for it but didn’t get there in time and Mateo Pieschacon headed it in.
“Just a great by the kids of not losing their poise and staying with it,” said Cypress Bay coach Colin Ilgner. “Max was such a good kid and these are kids and they weren’t sure how to deal with the whole thing so they just went out and dedicated the season to him and now I’ve just got a determined bunch of kids on my hands.”
MORE BOYS’ SOCCER
▪ Region 3-5A Final: Vero Beach 2, Douglas 1.
▪ District 15-2A Quarterfinals — Westwood Christian 87, Northwest Christian 63: WC (21-5): Guitian 31, Farradas 16, Mejias 14, Ametepe 9, Molina 6, Beautelus 6. Three-pointers: Farradas 2, Mejias 2. Rebounds: Guitian 18. Blocks: Dowuona 6. Steals: Molina 4. Assists: Beautelus 5.
▪ District 14-5A Quarterfinals — Pine Crest 64, Somerset Academy 32: PC (17-7): Brett Haeffner 17 points, 5 rebounds. Scotty Pippen 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals. Alex Vertus 10 points. Brian Anderson 10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists.
▪ District 8-2A Semifinal — Miami Christian 83, Schoolhouse Prep 26: MC (23-2) Alvarez 9, Camacho 2, Diaz 17, Rosario 7, Haase 18, Hernandez 6, Rivera 13, Machado 9, Fuenmayor 2. Rebounds: Diaz 10. Assists: Camacho 4, Rosario 4. Steals: Camacho 4, Alvarez 4, Rosario 4, Rivera 4. HT: MC 49-11.
▪ District 16-6A Quarterfinals — Archbishop McCarthy 77, Pompano Beach 35: AM (17-9): Avila 10, Jones 13, Jameau 7, Volmar 18, Cucalon 2, S Taylor 15, Hunter 9, Schmidt 3. PB: Bennett 6, Monfries 6, Zouri 3, Meysmith 2, Francis 10, Coleman 3, Lovett 3, Suggs 2. HT: AM 51-15. Three-pointers: Volmar 5. Rebounds: Alcime 8. Assists: Avila 4.
▪ District 7-4A Opening Round — Riviera Prep 75, Archbishop Curley 42: RP: David Perez 13, Guillermo de la Paz 12, Ellis Greenstein 7, Jorge Puig 6, Arthur Hoynack 8, Alejandro Del Valle 18, Esteban Lluberes 6, Ruben Simpson 5. Rebounds: Puig 6. Assists: Perez 5. Three-pointers: Del Valle 6. HT: RP 42-23
▪ Hialeah 25, Coral Gables 0: Goals: Ashley Luy, Paola Dominguez-Castro, Claudia Briceno. HIA 2-0.
▪ Hialeah 18, Miami Country Day 3.
▪ South Broward 25, Westminster Christian 5: Emma Leto 13 goals, 2 assists. Mia Leto 6 goals, 7 assists, 4 steals. Medicine Martinez 2 goals, 5 assists, 2 steals. SB 6-2.
▪ Hialeah 16, Coral Gables 10: HIA (2-1) Goals: David Lemus, Anthony Rodriguez.
▪ Hialeah 15, Miami Country Day 11: Mario Valdez 13 saves.
▪ South Broward 18, McArthur 6: Bruno Dede 5 goals. Ben Moya 5 assists. Oakley Skove 5 steals.
▪ South Broward 18, Westminster 9: Cameron 5 steals, 4 goals. Tyler Lopez 5 goals, 4 steals. Cody Jones 5 goals, 5 assists, 4 steals. Andrew Lopez 5 assists, 6 steals. SB 5-0.
▪ Coral Reef 8, Palmetto 7 (3 OT): Madison Stricker 3 goals. Sarah Boger 2 goals. Shannan Korovich 2 goals. CR 1-0.
▪ Pine Crest 17, Calvaray Christian 5: PC 1-0.
▪ Cardinal Gibbons 17, Cypress Bay 4: CG (1-0): James Foster 6 goals. RJ Breton 3 goals, assist. Whitman Hengtgen 2 goals, 2 assists. Cole O'Hallaron goal, 4 assists. Clay Shaw 2 goals, assist. Payton Goodrich goal. Caleb Fiedler goal. Chuck Diamond goal. CB (0-1): Will Masaro 2 goals. Joey Courcelle goal. Gavin Ward goal. Billy North assist.
District 11-9A semifinals at Deerfield Beach: Douglas-Monarch winner vs. Coral Springs, 6; Deerfield Beach vs. Coral Glades-Taravella, 7:30
District 13-9A final at Miramar: 6
District 14-9A semifinals at Miami High: Miami High vs. American, 6; North Miami vs. Hialeah, 7:30
District 15-9A semifinals at Braddock: Coral Gables vs. Ferguson, 5; South Miami vs. Southwest, 7
District 16-9A semifinals at Killian: Palmetto vs. Coral Reef, 5; Southridge vs. Killian, 7
District 16-8A final at Mater Academy: 7
District 15-7A semifinals at Central: Carol City vs. Central, 6; NMB vs. Norland, 7:30
District 16-7A semifinals at Belen Jesuit: Doral vs. Miami Springs, 6; Sunset vs. Belen, 7:30
District 16-6A semifinals at Coconut Creek: Pompano Beach-Archbishop McCarthy winner vs. American Heritage, 6; Stranahan-Coconut Creek winner vs. Hallandale, 7:30
District 13-5A semifinals at North Broward Prep: Coral Springs Charter vs. St. John Paul II, 5:30; Delray American Heritage-North Broward Prep winner vs. Boca St. Andrews, 7
District 15-5A semifinals at Monsignor Pace: Booker T. vs. La Salle, 5; Pace vs. Mater Lakes, 7
District 16-5A quarterfinals: Pinecrest Prep at Westminster Christian, 5; Keys Gate at Key West, 6
District 5-4A semifinals at Benjamin: Somerset Prep-Somerset Canyons winner vs. Benjamin, 5:30; Yeshiva-John Carroll winner vs. Westminster Academy, 7
District 6-4A semifinals at Miami Country Day: Miami Country Day vs. Scheck Hillel-Hialeah Educational winner, 5; Sagemont vs. Doctors Charter-Somerset Central Miramar winner, 7
District 7-4A semifinals at Archbishop Carroll: SLAM vs. Florida Christian, 5; Archbishop Curley-Riviera Prep winner vs. Archbishop Carroll, 7
District 8-4A semifinals: Somerset Silver Palms at Palmer Trinity, 7; Palm Glades-Everglades Prep winner at Marathon, 7