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Sunday, Apr 22, 2018
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Riverview makes it back-to-back titles

TAMPA — It was a spot Riverview High junior Marc Lozada was more than comfortable in.

The Sharks midfielder took his mark a few steps behind the ball, set up for a penalty kick after 90 minutes of play in the King Invitational Soccer tournament, with the game on the line. Lozado said he is usually called on to take the final of five penalty kicks for Riverview as well as for his club team.

On Saturday, as rain started to fall, Lozada made it look like second nature — drilling a right-footed kick to the keeper’s right and sealing the Sharks’ 2-1 win (3-2 PKs) over host King.

“I usually go fifth with my club,” Lozada said. “And when their player missed I was just ready for it. I didn’t hear anything, I just zoned out and put it away.”

It is the second straight year Riverview (12-2-2) won the tournament by defeating the Lions — the Sharks scored in overtime to win the title in 2013.

The match was even through the first half as gusting winds knocked everything in the air off course.

The Sharks got on the board first when Huntere Madison sent a long shot into the box that was punched up and over by King keeper Nate Johnson. On the ensuing corner, Lozada sent a ball into the box, charged in and found it after it deflected off a King defender, then finished in the 52nd minute for his 17th goal of the season.

“Their No. 8 (Lozada) is a player, no doubt,” King coach Brian Dozark said. “He’ll pose some serious problems for anybody they play.”

King played very physically in the second half and evened the match in the 71st minute when Grant Owens sent a long throw into the box and Alan Hackney flicked it in with a header.

Both teams battled through two five-minute overtime periods before moving to penalty kicks.

The final 50 minutes was a highlight show between Lozada and Johnson, as the Lions keeper made four saves on one-on-one chances with the Sharks’ leading scorer.

“Last year when we played them (Johnson) was saving everything,” Lozada said. “That guy is a really good goalie.”

In PKs, Johnson and Riverview keeper Charlie Stephens both had two great saves, but Lozada, his brother Jonathan Lozada and Jacob Wendel each converted on their chances for the Sharks.

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