The West Orange Warriors boys soccer team (9-1-5) beat the Evans Trojans (18-4-3), 2-0, in the Class 5A District 4 Final Jan. 23 — bringing home a district championship trophy for the fifth consecutive year.
Drenched in sweat, the Warriors were running full speed down the field on Friday night, matching the speed and agility of the Trojans throughout the contest.
“They (Evans) pressure you, and they’re so athletic that they force you into playing in a way that you don’t really want to play sometimes,” Warriors head coach Scott Fisher said. “But we settled down in the second half, I thought, and played a little better.”
Scoring both goals for West Orange was senior forward Felipe Silva.
A veteran team member, Silva has seen the Warriors through their past three district championships.
“I feel great — I’ve been playing for three years; all three districts,” Silva said. “It’s an amazing opportunity to play with all these guys and win this five straight district championships.”
Fisher said that along with Silva, West Orange’s defense, in particular, played well.
“Especially Tim Mansingh — because like I said, with their speed, any time they kick the ball long, it’s just hard to play,” Fisher said.
With this win on their record, the Warriors advance to the Class 5A State Playoffs and will host Lake Howell at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29, giving the athletes some time to rest up before the win-or-go-home showdown with the Silver Hawks.
“We get four days off; we’ll do the regular thing, you know, make sure we stay in shape,” Fisher said. “We still are missing shots that we should make, so we’ll get some shooting in.”
With a number of returning players, Fisher said his team knows what to expect mentally.
“The good thing is, we have on this team — even the guys that aren’t seniors — a bunch of guys that went through it last year and the year before since they moved up from JV,” Fisher said. “So they’re kind of used to the whole system.”
Regardless of how many times the team has moved on to the state playoffs, though, the competition never gets easier, and every win will have to be earned.
“It’s a struggle in the playoffs,” Fisher said. “Everything is close and you have to play well or you go home, and they know that.”
Silva feels confident about their chances to advance. The senior has seen the team advance and fall short of the title in years past, but he think that this year their teamwork will help them win.
“We’ve got a great opportunity to win it all,” Silva said. “We have a great team, we have great teammates, we’re ready for state finals — we’re ready to win it.”
WINDERMERE PREP ADVANCES
The Windermere Prep Lakers boys soccer team finished as runner-up in the Class 1A District 4 Championship and, in doing so, secured a berth in the FHSAA Class 1A State Playoffs.
The Lakers (10-7-2) fell to Orangewood Christian in the district final, 4-0. As such, Windermere Prep will face Father Lopez, the champion of 1A-3, on the road in the regional quarterfinal at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29.