District boys soccer: Boca Raton, Spanish River meet again for championship

BOCA RATON – The "Shark Tank" hosted more double header drama on Monday as Spanish River hunted down Olympic Heights in the last minute of overtime to secure the Sharks' spot in the championship game.

Sharks forward Ethan Schweiger was the hero for Spanish River (15-3-1) as he used his strength and pace to press and beat the Lions defensive line and tuck away the winning goal and his 15th of the season.

The second game was Park Vista taking on an in-form Boca Raton side who went into the match on an eight-game win streak.

The Bobcats came out on top with 2-1 win over the Cobras with Boca opening the score with a penalty kick in the second half, scored by senior defender Caleb Chapman. A minute later, senior forward Cristhian Arraiz fired a screamer from outside the box to double their lead.

Park Vista (7-7-3) won and converted a penalty by senior defender Noah Gutierrez in the last three minutes, but time was not on their side and couldn’t find the second to force it into overtime.

Boca Raton in the championship on a nine-game win streak

The Boca Raton Bobcats see out a district semifinal win over Park Vista on Jan. 30 at Spanish River High School.
The Boca Raton Bobcats see out a district semifinal win over Park Vista on Jan. 30 at Spanish River High School.

The Bobcats (18-4) were always the favorites going into this semifinal matchup. They are currently undefeated in the 7A District 12 and the best defensive side this season, only conceding 15 goals in 22 games in the regular season.

Their now nine-game win streak shows that they are the real deal and a force to be reckoned with.

However, despite their accomplishments and success so far this season, head coach Marcelo Castillo said there is still room for improvement and expects more from his players.

“It’s very unfortunate that in high school, from the conditions of the field to the level of testosterone flowing, it doesn’t allow us to play the game we are accustomed to," Castillo said. "I told my team just now, we were lucky to get out of here with a win, because they're a good team and we disrespected the game a little bit.”

Complacency and discipline are always key factors in soccer, of course besides the physical and technical aspects, which is why it is important for coaches to make sure their players are always making the right decisions and not letting the heat of the game affect their performance.

“I'm hoping that this game scared us straight a little bit,” Castillo said. “We'll see what our mistakes are, and we'll make sure that we're better. But I have no doubt in my mind that our team will come out strong.”

Spanish River’s attack is threatening

Spanish River's Ethan Schweiger (13) celebrates a goal against Olympic Heights in a district semifinal on Jan. 30, 2023.
Spanish River's Ethan Schweiger (13) celebrates a goal against Olympic Heights in a district semifinal on Jan. 30, 2023.

The home crowd was buzzing after one of their top attacking stars scored the winning goal against Olympic Heights (10-8-4) to put the Sharks in the district final.

Schweiger had been known to score goals all season, with 15 to his name along with 11 assists in 19 games. He's the third highest goal scorer in the district and the fifth ranked player in assists.

“I just tried to stay focused on the game," Schweiger said. "I knew my teammates would get me in the right spot and I just pushed through and got the goal. Once it happened everything broke loose, emotions were going crazy. It was good time.”

Head coach Matt Weston uses his 4-3-3 formation to make the best use of his best attacking forwards. The attacking trio have 41 goals scored combined this season.

“We got the front three Mikey Capille, Ethan Schweiger and Justin Ibrahim," Weston said. "I think they scrub around 40 goals between the three of them this season. It only takes one of them to step up to the plate tonight. It was Ethan, that's a good thing. We're grateful for that.”

Capille scored 16 goals and got 18 assists this season, the highest in the team. He is also currently the best player in the district in terms of points with 50, the second highest goal scorer, and the leading assist maker.

Ibrahim is the 8th highest scorer in the district with 10 goals in 11 games and currently has five assists in his junior year. Sophomore midfielder Leonardo Casanova is also someone to look out for in the coming seasons, this year he scored eight goals and has 3 assists in 18 games.

Coach Weston is ready for the challenge ahead against Boca High as the Bobcats beat them twice in the regular season and the Sharks will look to seek revenge.

“Boca beat us twice this season and in districts last year, they're a very good team. They're very aggressive, very much on the front foot, a very proactive team. Difficult to beat.

I'm happy to be in district final and hopefully we'll get a rub in the green and we get a win and we move on from there.”

Spanish River will host Boca Raton at the shark tank Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Boca Raton, Spanish River soccer set for another championship clash