South Dade rallied for a 3-2 victory over Palmetto to advance to the school’s first GMAC final in girls’ soccer.
The Bucs (14-1-2) will play defending GMAC champion Ferguson (15-3-1) at 7 p.m. Friday at Milander.
“We’re making history,” Bucs coach Erin Shelow said.
Early on, though, it looked like Palmetto would win and set up a rematch of the 2012 GMAC final. The Panthers (12-3) got on the board first in the 15th-minute on a goal by Sophia Paz.
South Dade tied the score on a blast by Allyssa Cili, but Paz’s second goal gave Palmetto a 2-1 lead.
That’s when the Bucs made their move, getting the equalizer by veteran Jada Hayes and the game-winner from tiny freshman Thalia Leal, who lofted a long boot over the Palmetto goalie.
“I didn’t think it was going to go in,” said Leal, flashing a smile.
The Bucs had chance to get a fourth goal when Isamar Duran hit the crossbar in the 72nd minute.
Palmetto nearly tied it a couple of minutes later, but Ava Gruener’s shot when wide left, and the Bucs and backup goalie Andrea Bueno survived.
Ferguson also had a close call in its semifinal, tying Miami Springs 1-1 at the end of regulation and then winning 4-2 on penalty kicks.
After Ferguson’s Isa Jara scored early in the second half, Miami Springs (14-4-4) tied the score when Ale Salazar was dragged down in the box and converted her penalty kick. It was her fourth goal in two days.
Ferguson got off to a bad start on penalty kicks when Angelica Gomez hit the right post, and Salazar made her shot.
But Ferguson’s Jessica Suarez converted, and goalie Patricia Pinckombe dove to her left to stop Springs’ Debbie Yance to preserve a 2-1 lead.
“I read her body positioning and her eyes,” Pinckombe said, “and then I just went for it.”
Given that opening, Ferguson put the game away with shots by Jara, Natalie Valderuten and the clincher from Marcela Ramirez.
“I was just hoping it would go in the net,” Ramirez said. “I was nervous.”
Ferguson, which advanced to the semifinals on a forfeit when Goleman failed to have enough healthy players to start the match, was out of rhythm, according to its coach.
“This was our first match in three weeks,” Richard Lopez said. “We should be much better on Friday.”
The Miami Herald will publish its All-County Fall Sports section Jan.16.
The section will include football, girls’ volleyball, swimming and diving, golf, cross-country and bowling.
Coaches can submit their statistics for basketball and soccer to The Miami Herald for inclusion in our leaderboards next week. Please email stats to either dade
preps@MiamiHerald.com in Dade or hssports@Miami
Herald.com in Broward no later than Sunday evening for the following week.
Coaches, please report your game results and statistics by emailing them to
.com before 10 p.m. on the night when your game is played. Also, please call 305-376-3700 to confirm receipt of your results.
Monsignor Pace went undefeated and took home the title during the District 15-1A duals at Monsignor Pace on Wednesday night. The tournament was held in honor of Manuel Quintero, the former wrestling coach at Dade Christian who passed away in September. Pace, which has won the past seven district titles, defeated Hollywood Chaminade 59-9 in the final