Athletes are known to be confident, but that’s not a trait you will find on the Goleman Gators girls’ soccer team — at least not now.
The GMAC quarterfinals kick off Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at Kendall Soccer Park, and the match between Goleman (9-10-2) and Ferguson (14-3-1) figures to be a blowout.
That’s not a prediction — it’s what Goleman expects.
“No way,” said Goleman’s Kaley Huguet when asked if her team can win on Tuesday. “Absolutely not.”
Why such pessimism?
It comes down to numbers, and the Gators don’t have nearly enough. At the end of Monday’s practice, the Gators had only six healthy players — five short of a full lineup.
Because of the shortage, Gators third-year coach Brian Casanas said he wanted another school to take Goleman’s place.
“But the GMAC is forcing us to show up,” Casanas said. “If we don’t, we will be banned from GMAC events for two years.”
Cheryl Golden, the instructional supervisor of the GMAC, said the Gators would have been replaced had they notified her much sooner. “It’s a little late after it’s already seeded and it’s the day before the tournament,” she said.
So the Gators will show up, but Casanas said they won’t play unless they get at least one more player. “The rules are that you have to have seven to play,” he said.
Casanas, who started with the Gators as an assistant in 2007, said that during his short tenure Goleman has decreased in enrollment from 5,000 to 2,000 students, affecting the number of kids who come out for soccer.
To make matters worse, the Gators have been hit hard by injuries. Of their top five players, defender Sarah Ojeda is out for the season because of a fractured ankle, forward Lucia Cuervo is down with an ankle injury and a severe flu bug, and defender Brittney Castillo has shin splints.
That leaves just goalie Annmarie Rodriguez and Huguet as the team’s healthy standouts. But it’s probably a stretch to call Huguet “healthy.” She had ACL surgery on both of her knees in February and is playing in pain.
“My chances of playing in college are probably gone,” said Huguet, a senior who had 17 goals and 19 assists last season and made second-team All-Dade.
Tuesday’s other quarterfinals, all at the same location and time will include Miami Springs vs. Reagan. On the other side of the bracket, South Dade will face TERRA and Palmetto will take on Miami Beach.
• American 48, Ferguson 41 – AM (13-4): Jones 19, Bradshaw 9, Smith 6, David 6, Williams 4, Vargas 2, Grant 2. FER (9-10): Isa 13, Susan 12, Sydney 12, Samantha 2, Stephasia 2. Halftime: AM 24-16. Three-pointers: David 2. Rebounds: Smith 10. Assists: Jones 3. Steals: Smith, David 4.
• Miami Beach 75, Varela 51 – MB (13-4): Morgan 11, Reque 21, Henry 32, Nedrick 2, Hopkins 7. VAR: Nieto 5, Brown 13, Mctarre 17, Verdes 13, Iglesias. Three-pointers: Henry 7. Rebounds: Morgan 10. Assists: Reque 11. Steals: Morgan 10.
• Carol City 54, Killian 41 – CC: Y. Williams 11, Gaines 24, Warren 11, Milton 4, K. Williams 4. KIL: Dorviller 12, Fonvil 13, Tarver 2, Zelaya 6, Johnson 2, Dennis 2, Miller 4. Halftime: CC 23-19. Three-pointers: Warren, Dorviller. Rebounds: Gaines 15. Steals: Y. Williams 9.