January 26, 2024

Lake Brantley Beats East Ridge 6-5 In Boys Soccer District Thriller

1.9 min read| Published On: January 26th, 2024|

By Kyle Coppola

Lake Brantley Beats East Ridge 6-5 In Boys Soccer District Thriller

1.9 min read| Published On: January 26th, 2024|

What an amazing game this was that came down to the wire. Ultimately, Lake Brantley would pull off the win, but not before East Ridge would mount a comeback for the ages in the second half.

Lake Brantley was able to control the game early and would wind up taking a two-goal lead into halftime. With the Knights’ season on the line, the boys came out of halftime fired up and eventually cut into the lead, making it off the foot of senior #10 Haytham Abdalla. The score was 2-1, but Abdalla was not done.

(#10 Haytham Abdalla was so much fun to watch the past two years. We wish him well in whatever his future holds.)

East Ridge would score an equalizer, and again, Haytham Abdalla put the East Ridge Knights on his back as they tied the game at 2-2. Lake Brantley was on their heels and stunned at the pressure East Ridge was putting on them with time winding down.

As the clock hit zeros, the game would go into overtime. Neither side could find a goal in either the first or second overtime, which were ten-minute sessions. This would bring up a penalty kick shootout.

(East Ridge Goalie Nicholas Aquilino did the best he could this season in goal. He will forever be a large part of the 2023 State Championship winning East Ridge team.)

While having a game end in a shootout is exciting, it’s a hard way for either team to have their season come to an end. Nicholas Aquilino, who is the goaltender for East Ridge, stepped up and did the best he possibly could. Aquilino, who was part of the state championship-winning East Ridge team last year, has been such a valuable player for the Knights.

But on this night, Lake Brantley would not be denied. They were just slightly better at the penalty kick line, They would win the penalty kick shootout 4-3 and they would win by a final combined score of 6-5 in a heartbreaking loss for the Knights.

(This team has given Lake County a ton to be proud about the past few years. Although this season did not turn out how they had hoped, East Ridge went down the only way they knew how. Playing the game till their last kick.)

We are not sure the Knights will get into the FHSAA Playoffs, but if this is truly the end of their season, what a run it has been for East Ridge. Especially for the seniors who experienced the highest of highs during their careers. Congratulations to each and every one of them on fantastic high school careers. If this is truly the end for them, what a way to go out! They went down fighting like the champions they are.

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About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

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