- By Adam Lichtenstein Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
There was a chill in the air Thursday night, but Royal Palm Beach boys soccer team’s offense was hot.
Royal Palm was facing Boynton Beach, which had not lost a game all season, but the Wildcats punched in two goals in the first 10 minutes. They’d add two more in the second half, handing the Tigers (13-1-1) their first loss of the year in a 4-0 victory.
“I actually did (expect to score early),” Royal Palm coach Mal Hasan said. “I told the boys, ‘Get ready. We’re going to shock everybody tonight because they haven’t seen a team like us yet.’ ”
The first goal came six minutes into the game when a throw-in bounced off the Boynton Beach keeper’s hands and floated in front of Matthew Jachim. The junior stuck his foot up in the air and punched the ball into the net.
One minute later, the Wildcats (12-5-2) had another deep throw-in opportunity, and it worked similarly. The ball bounced past multiple Tiger defenders to the feet of Luke Sambeli, who sent it to the back of the net.
“We believe in fast-paced, heavy-pressure and just non-stop (offense),” Hasan said.
Freshman Vicente DeBrito threw both of those balls in play, and he got his own score in the 59th minute, which put Royal Palm ahead 4-0.
“Every time he steps on the field, he’s a very smart player,” Hasan said. “Mentally, physically, he always performs well.”
Sophomore Brando Marcus, the team’s leading scorer, also scored, notching his 11th of the season with a goal three minutes into the second half.
Hasan attributed his team’s toughness, in part, to the district they play in, which also includes undefeated John I. Leonard and tough Lake Worth and Park Vista sides. Royal Palm will have to get through those teams to make the regional playoffs when district tournaments begin on Jan. 29.
“I would put our district up against any other district in the state,” Hasan said. “You come out of this district, you’re battle-tested.”
Oxbridge Academy 1, Boca Raton 1: Mickey Ameris scored a goal and David Hall had eight saves as the Thunderwolves (3-5-3) tied the Bobcats in West Palm Beach.
American Heritage 4, Cardinal Newman 1: Riley Ferch, Alexandre Guichard, Douglas Phillips and Kharym Florvil each scored a goal as the Stallions (10-3-1) handled the Crusaders in West Palm Beach.
King’s Academy 2, Oxbridge Academy 0: Christian Johnson and Dylan Shepherd each scored a goal as the Lions (8-4-1) shut out the ThunderWolves in West Palm Beach.
Spanish River 5, Boca Raton Christian 0: Greg Aronstam, Alex Martinez, Diego Reyes, Lucca D’Amore and Alex Vanderlinde each scored a goal as the Sharks (8-9-1) shut down the Blazers in Boca Raton.
Trinity Christian 1, Somerset Canyons 0: Rogeni Decaster scored the lone goal and Raul Gonzalez earned his fourth shutout as the Warriors (8-2-4) edged the Cougars in Boynton Beach.