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.
Cypress Bay (16-2-3) moves on to Tuesday’s regional final where the Lighting will travel to Columbus High School to take on Miami Lourdes in a rematch of last year’s regional final.
Not only has Cypress Bay defeated West Broward four times in a row in the semifinal round, the Bobcats had a chance to end the game on their seventh and eight kicks and twice Stolzenberg dove and made the saves.
After Cypress Bay’s Elizabeth Martinez found the top right of the net to put her team up 6-5 on their ninth kick, West Broward’s Gabriella Moreira stepped up and drilled a low shot middle left, and Stolzenberg was right there to stop it, sending Lighting players sprinting toward her to celebrate and Bobcats to the ground in despair.
“It was nerve-wracking to say the least,” Stolzenberg said. “A lot of times penalty kicks are a 50-50 thing, and I was just fortunate to make those stops when my teammates needed it.”
• Region 4-3A semifinal – Plantation American Heritage 6, Jensen Beach 0: Martha Thomas scored three goals as host American Heritage blew past Jensen Beach.
The Patriots (23-2) will host the Merritt Island-Rockledge winner in the regional finals Tuesday night.
After a slow start, the Patriots blew the game open by turning a 1-0 lead into a 6-0 lead in 14 minutes of play.
“We break teams down. We get one, we get two, the other teams starts losing their mentality, and that’s just it, we keep scoring,” Thomas said.
Thomas opened the scoring in the 12th minute. A goal by Megan Menocal made it 2-0 in the 28th minute and Thomas scored from 25 yards out to make it 3-0 in the 30th minute. Thomas then contributed an assist on a goal by Melanie Monteagudo for a 4-0 lead in the 35th minute.
Thomas finished the hat trick off with a perfectly placed header on a beautiful free kick by Michaela Kopecki for a 5-0 lead in the 37th minute. Kopecki had three assists.
• Region 4-1A semifinal – South Florida HEAT 5, Boca Christian 0: A hat trick by Cassie Zero helped the South Florida HEAT (18-6-4) to a victory over Boca Christian (9-11-1) at Weston Regional Park.
“I couldn’t have done it without my team,” Zero said. “They just fed me the ball, and then I was kind of there. I kept seeing open space and taking it.”
Zero scored her first goal in the 11th minute of the game. A second goal was added minutes later by Kristi Isabelle. Shortly after, the HEAT’s lead was increased to 3-0 on a goal by Erin McNutt. In the 33rd minute, Zero scored her second goal. South Florida led 4-0 at halftime.
Late in second half, Zero scored her third goal of the game.
HEAT will visit Miami Country Day on Tuesday in the regional final.
• Region 4-2A semifinal – American Heritage-Delray 3, Chaminade 0: In a physical match, Chaminade-Madonna had chances to get on the scoreboard, but was unable to break the American Heritage-Delray defense and goalkeeper Courtney Tompkins as the visiting Stallions shut out the Lions.
“Against a team like [American Heritage], you are not going to have many opportunities,” Chaminade coach Pablo Gentile said. “When you do, you have to put them away.”
Despite the result, Chaminade (17-4-2) was more competitive in this match than in last year’s when the Stallions (22-0-1) won 6-0 in the same round of the playoffs. “I’m proud of the way the girls played,” Gentile said. “We held our own.”
South Broward football coach Allen Held stepped down from his position of 11 years on Friday after an 0-10 2012 season.
Held will remain the school’s wrestling coach, which he has led for the same amount of time.
“I’ve been coaching two sports for 27 years now, and it’s just time to take a little rest on one of them,” said Held, who was previously at Hallandale High School and has a career 62-61 record. “Obviously anytime you’re a coach and you want a special program, especially in South Florida, [there are] year-round programs. It was just time to take a little bit of a break. I’m tired.”
This year in District 15-7A – the same as state champion St. Thomas Aquinas – the Bulldogs finished the season 0-10. Held has a career 62-61 record. Twice his teams completed 10-2 seasons. In both 2009 and 2010, South Broward reached regional play, which included a semifinal appearance.
There is no timetable for when a new coach will be selected, but Held said if his assistants express interest in the job, he would recommend them to the search committee. The first day of spring practice is May 1.
CHRISTINA DE NICOLA
• Late Friday – District 15-4A final – South Broward 2, Fort Lauderdale 1.
• Late Friday – Sagemont 55, Somerset 20 – SAG (17-5): DeLucia 3, Cooper 9, Jurko 4, Kirby 11, Koulechov 14, Delaruelle 6, Serpa 6, Kande 5. SOM: Pierre 3, Martin 2, Francois 2, Cauite 6, Miranda 3, Benjamin 4. Assists: DeLucia 5. Steals: Kande 4.
• Lourdes 37, Coral Springs Charter 30 – LOU (23-1): Jordan 16, Palmer 11, Farinas 6, Suarez 4. CSCha.: Wojcik 11, Smellie 7, Smith 5, E. Williams 3, Wyatt 2, Hall 2. Halftime: CSCha. 20-15. Three-pointers: Jordan 2, Smellie 2. Rebounds: Palmer 16. Assists: Suarez 6. Steals: Jordan 5.
• Pace 51, Archbishop McCarthy 30.
• Everglades 42, Pace 36.
• Pace 56, Everglades 3.
• Pace 39, Deerfield Beach 33.
Pace 36, Miramar 30.