St. Thomas Aquinas senior forwards Sara Perlman and Jessica Hoyt locked eyes, asking the other if she was nervous when Douglas knotted the score at 1 early in the second half of the Class 5A regional semifinal.
They both responded with, “No, let’s go get it,” and the Raiders did just that.
Sophomore Dallas Dorosy headed in sophomore Mackenzie Marsh’s free kick in the 50th minute that stood as the game-winner in a 2-1 victory Saturday night at Brian Piccolo Stadium.
“I don’t know [what I was thinking],” said Dorosy, whose goal was similar to Douglas’ in the regional semifinal last year. “I was overwhelmed. I was so focused on getting it in. ‘I’ve got to get my head on it. I’ve got to do whatever I can to score.’”
Both teams entered the game nationally ranked and faced off in the same round last season. The Raiders beat the Eagles 6-5 in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 score at the end of regulation and overtime.
On Saturday, Douglas (22-1) evened the score in the 48th minute when senior midfielder Brianna Raaf took the ball out wide and crossed it to sophomore midfielder Kelly Field. It was just the Eagles’ second shot on goal at the time.
“I think we let the game be a little bit bigger than it was instead of just playing and being settled down and relaxed,” Douglas coach Stu Katz said. “It’s a great season, but if you don’t win the last game nobody really cares.”
A winner of back-to-back state championships and 12 overall, the host Raiders (22-1-1) captured a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute, taking advantage of junior goalkeeper Liz-Amanda Gonzalez’s aggressive play.
Hoyt dribbled into the box, tempting Gonzalez into coming out. When she slid to stop the ball and missed, Hoyt leapt over her outstretched arms but overran the ball. Perlman gathered it from inside 15 yards and shot it past a few Eagle defenders into the open net.
“I played her, and I guess it just got stuck on her foot,” Perlman said. “I was yelling, ‘slot, slot.’ I shot it, and I thought the [defender] had a head on it, but luckily it slid over enough. It was the best feeling.”
Gonzalez, who recorded 16 shutouts on the season, finished with 10 saves. Aquinas junior goalkeeper Brittany Macaluso needed just two on three shots on goal.
St. Thomas Aquinas will play Palm Beach Central in the regional final Tuesday.
“I think we played well today,” Raiders coach Carlos Giron said. “We controlled a lot of the game, we just needed to create more opportunities… We’re just going to have to step it up and continue to play better and better.”
Region 4-5A semifinal – Cypress Bay 0, West Broward 0 (CB 6-5 on PKs): It only figured that after four consecutive years of one-goal overtime games and penalty-kick decisions, that the between bitter archrivals Cypress Bay and West Broward would be more of the same.
For the fourth consecutive year, it was Cypress Bay storming the field in celebration and devastated West Broward players having to be picked up off the ground.
That’s what happened when Lightning goalkeeper Samara Stolzenberg put on a clinic during a penalty-kick overtime shootout, making three consecutive saves, the last the game-clincher to give the Lightning a 6-5 penalty-kick victory. This came after100 minutes of regulation and overtime without a goal and nine rounds of penalty kicks before the match was decided.