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Island Coast picks up win over Estero

By CJ HADDAD - | Jan 11, 2021

Island Coast senior Jim Midy (10) tallied a hat trick Friday night against Estero. PHOTO BY CJ HADDAD

The Island Coast boys soccer team continued their positive trend this season and came out of the holiday break looking strong with a 5-2 home win over Estero Friday night.

Gator senior Jim Midy displayed his full skill set in the victory and found the back of the net three times for the hat trick.

Friday’s win marked three straight for Island Coast (6-3-2) who have outscored their opponents 15-4 in those matches. This was the Gators’ first time taking the pitch since Dec. 17 and head coach Craig Bullock was pleased with his team’s performance.

“You have that long break and you wonder what the team will look like, but the Tuesday and Wednesday practice we came back were two of the best all year, and I think that set the tone for tonight,” he said. “It’s good to be able to come back and get a victory, and I’m proud of their play tonight.”

The Gators got off to an early advantage as junior Enrique Gomez lofted a precise pass over the shoulder of a breaking-towards-the-goal Jose Rojas who beat the Estero keeper in the 11th minute.

In minute 30, Midy was taken down in the box and awarded a penalty kick, which he tucked into the bottom left of the goal to put Island Coast up 2-0.

Estero scoree just before the half, but Midy got it back just moments after the break. The senior struck the ball hard into the keeper from around 10-yards out, calmly collected the rebound and chipped it home to restore the Gators’ two-score lead.

The Wildcats would not go quietly and scored in minute 55 to cut the deficit to 3-2.

Midy put any doubts to rest just five minutes later as he collected a pass from Gomez on the left side of the box with his left foot, brought it back to his right boot while losing the defender in front of him and placed it inside the left goal post to complete the hat trick.

“I felt pretty good tonight,” Midy said. “We had a long break and came back stronger than ever. That’s the goal. This team is coming along this year and that’s a good thing.”

Midy said his success on the night comes from a collaborative effort by the team to work as a cohesive unit.

“Everything I’m doing out here, it’s because we play as a team,” Midy said. “The whole team puts the work in.”

Junior William Pinto Arriaga capped of the scoring for Island Coast in minute 72 when we weaved his way through Estero defenders on his way to the net and a highlight-reel goal.

Bullock said the squad benefitted from the break in that they’re finally getting back to full strength health-wise. Key players who had to miss time before the layoff are now back in the lineup.

“It’s been important for us to get everybody healthy,” Bullock said.

Though the talent of the Island Coast attack was on full display Friday as Midy, Rojas and Gomez combined for four goals and three assists, Bullock showed some love to his defenders and midfielders for providing the spark to the offense.

“(Our attackers) are there for a reason – because they have that skill, but if not for our center defense and center midfielders playing as well as we have to force those turnovers and create those runs, (the results) don’t happen.”

Bullock said the trend of the team is one of a culture change and progression in a talented area for soccer.

“We’ve been talking constantly about continuing to get better day in and day out, and I think we’re getting there. We just have to keep working and peak at the right time.

“It’s being a complete player, a complete student-athlete. Once we get that all together — and it’s slowly coming — then the sky’s the limit for whatever we’re able to accomplish.”

Island Coast next takes on Bonita Springs (1-7-1) on the road Monday night.

–Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj