Tigers hold off Lakeland Christian for 2-1 victory

Goals by Gaskin, Nordin put Holy Trinity into Class 1A regional semis


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Holy Trinity's David Nordin (No. 9) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in Wednesday's 2-1 victory over Lakeland Christian in the Class 1A regional quarterfinals.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

The Holy Trinity boys soccer team is moving on in the Class 1A regional playoffs.

But their 2-1 victory over visiting Lakeland Christian Wednesday night wasn’t exactly devoid of drama.

Lakeland Christian put all kinds of pressure on the Tigers in the final 20 minutes, scoring once and getting numerous other scoring chances – including two corner kicks in the game’s final 20 seconds.

“That made it a little fun, eh?” a smiling Tigers coach James Phillips said. “(They had) chance after chance after chance. But it was a good game.

“I honestly think (the coaching staff) were more nervous than the boys were. When you’re on the field, and you’re going through it, it’s not too bad because you’re so focused. But when you’re a coach, or you’re a fan, it’s so nerve-racking. I’m delighted for the boys. We worked hard.”

Holy Trinity (10-4-3) will travel to Winter Haven Saturday night to face All Saints Academy (15-2-1) in the regional semifinals.

The Tigers will need to get another strong all-around effort, particularly on defense, where Holy Trinity goalkeeper Callum Watson continues to stand out with help from teammates like Brian Baumann, Josh Knight, Jack Ganiban, John Micallef and Ollie Dunkin.

That group helped the Tigers hold off Lakeland Christian Wednesday night.

Both of Holy Trinity’s goals came on rebounds after the ball hit the crossbar.

Hunter Gaskin followed a Danny Lynch shot to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead midway through the first half. David Nordin made it 2-0 moments later when he headed in the rebound of a shot by Carlo Campanini.

“I had no plans on scoring,” Nordin said. “But when I saw the ball, I tried to head it and aim for the goal, and luckily, the keeper didn’t catch it.”

The two goals, which came after the first half water break, were rewards for how much the Tigers controlled the action early on.

“We fought well and were first on the ball,” Nordin said. “We were lucky the ball hit he bar and bounced right so we could score on the rebound.”

If the Tigers were nervous during Lakeland Christian’s second half comeback attempt, they seemed to re-focus themselves after the Vikings scored their initial goal.

“We were more awake after that,” Nordin said. “We were like, ‘We need to fight. This could be our last game. We need to stay calm and focus on the game.’”

A foreign exchange student from Sweden, Nordin said he is enjoying his one and only season with the Tigers.

“I’ve enjoyed it so much,” he said. “It’s so different from Sweden, but I love it here. It’s so nice to experience school soccer. We don’t have it in Sweden. We just have club soccer. This is amazing. I really enjoy it.”