Tate has been a thorn in the side of the Navarre’s boys soccer team, with the last two losses the Raiders have suffered coming at the hands of the Aggies.
The sting of defeat wasn’t any less painful this time around, Navarre falling 2-1 to Tate on a cool Thursday night at Bennett C. Russell Stadium, but the storyline was all too familiar. The Raiders also lost to the Aggies 2-1 on Dec. 21 in their final game before Christmas break.
“It was the same situation as the last time,” Navarre head coach Abdalla Elbaioumy said. “We control the ball in the first half and have a lot of chances to score, but then we make mistakes in the second half and they get a couple of goals.”
Navarre owned a six-game unbeaten streak, which included four consecutive wins, prior to meeting Tate in consecutive games.
It appeared this District 1-4A showdown would be different as the Raiders seemed to have momentum firmly in their grasp when Bailey Estep scored a head-turning goal with just over 10 minutes left in the opening half. Near the right sideline, Estep sent the ball flying toward the goal and it ended up in the left corner of the net as Navarre jumped in front 1-0.
Estep celebrated the goal with his teammates as he came off the field and the Raiders fed off the energy, pressuring the Aggies with a relentless defensive effort, particularly near the middle of the field as Tate’s opportunities to score were few and far between.
That changed in the second half. Tate (9-5-1, 7-3-1) scored twice in a span of 12 minutes in the second half to seal the deal on their win, handing Navarre its third one-goal loss of the season.
The Raiders (6-5-3, 5-3-3) had several golden opportunities to punch the ball in, including six minutes into the game when Daniel De Souza took a shot at the goal but came up empty.
Read more in the Jan. 12 edition of the Navarre Press or subscribe online here.
Glance at district standings through Jan. 5
Washington 12-0-1, 10-0
Niceville 10-2-3, 8-1-3
Tate 9-5-2, 7-3-1
Crestview 7-7-1, 7-4-1
Navarre 6-5-3, 5-3-3
Escambia 3-8-1, 3-7-1
Milton 0-13-1, 0-11-1
Pace 0-13-3, 0-11-2