With a 2-1 lead in hand late in the second half and dominating possession throughout the match, St. Thomas Aquinas had its eye for a shot at a third consecutive state title in girls soccer.
The Raiders, however, failed to put away host Palm Beach Gardens in Wednesday’s Class 5A regional finals. A crucial defensive lapse, plus St. Thomas’ inability to finish off its quality scoring chances, allowed the Broncos to survive two scoreless overtimes and overtake the Raiders 4-2 in penalty kicks after playing 60 minutes to a 2-2 tie.
The Raiders finished their its season at 21-2-1, while the Broncos (21-1) continue their deepest playoff run in the school’s 10-year history. Palm Beach Gardens next faces Miami Lourdes in the state final four in Melbourne.
Broncos reserve Amber Agrillo scored the tying goal with three minutes remaining in regulation after jumping all over a poor clearance pass by a Raiders defender. Agrillo’s shot from the left wing deflected off the hands of standout goalkeeper Brittany Macaluso and into the goal.
Agrillo clinched the win for the Broncos by converting the fourth penalty shot at the right corner, drawing a wild onfield celebration from the Broncos’ supporters.
“Yes, we did control the game,” Raiders coach Carlos Giron said. “We have a young team that’s still learning. It took just one mistake, and we’ve always talked about playing solid in the back throughout. Our back got caught flat, and they capitalized on it.”
Despite a 1-1 score at halftime, the Raiders clearly dominated the match with their superior passing game that weaved through the defense for excellent scoring opportunities in the front.
Even though they were outplayed, the Broncos struck first, scoring on a Michelle Nilsen penalty kick in the 11th minute of the match to take a 1-0 lead.
The Raiders answered just four minutes later when Sara Perlman finished a scramble in front of the goal with a 12-yard shot near the right post for the tying goal.
St. Thomas maintained control and finally took a 2-1 lead in the 51st minute on a 20-yard shot from the right midfield that went in near the left post.
Even after the score was tied, St. Thomas had several quality shots with at least four shots hitting the goalpost during the final 15 minutes of regulation and twice during the two overtimes.
• District 16-3A Semifinal — Palmer Trinity 55, Westminster Christian 9 - PT (22-4): Arriaga 4, Smith 6, Tagliero 2, Solar 7, Hebb 6, Granada 10, Parten 8, Pino 2, Quintero 4, Waldman 4, Forristall 2. WC: Woodard 3, Infante 2, Figueroa 4. Halftime: 28-7. Three pointers: Granada, Solar, Woodard 1. Rebounds: Waldman 10. Assists: Quintero 3. Steals: Smith 7. Blocks: Waldman 5.
LATE TUESDAY — MATER LAKES 18, WESTLAND HIALEAH 3
WP: Sam Herranz (2-0). LP: Juana. Top performers: Jasmine Harris 3-3, 2 doubles, 3 RBI. Mariah Hernandez 3-3, 3 runs. Melanie Arauz 2-3, 2 RBI. ML 2-0
LATE MONDAY — MATER LAKES 15, HIALEAH-MIAMI LAKES 1
WP: Sam Herranz (1-0). LP: Prada. Top performers: Jasmine Harris 3-3, 2 doubles, 2 RBI. Arlene Calleiro 2-3, 2 doubles, 3 runs. Alyssa Rodriguez 2-4, 2 runs. ML 1-0
Big 8 quarterfinals at Fort Lauderdale: St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Pines Charter, 6:30; Cypress Bay vs. Deerfield Beach, 8
District 12-8A semifinals at Cypress Bay: Flanagan vs. West Broward, 5; Cypress Bay vs. Miramar, 7
District 16-7A semifinals at South Broward: St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Nova, 6; Plantation vs. South Broward, 7:30
Region 3-5A quarterfinal: St. Thomas Aquinas at Deerfield Beach, 7
Region 3-5A quarterfinal: Taravella at South Plantation, 7
Region 4-5A quarterfinal: Miami High at Cypress Bay, 7
Region 4-5A quarterfinal at Milander Park: West Broward vs. Miami Beach, 5
Region 4-4A quarterfinal: Hialeah American at South Broward, 7
Region 4-4A quarterfinal at Milander Park: Fort Lauderdale vs. Westland Hialeah, 7
Region 4-3A quarterfinal: Okeechobee at American Heritage, 7
Region 4-3A quarterfinal: Pines Charter at Boynton Beach, 7
Region 4-2A quarterfinal: University at North Broward Prep, 7
Region 4-2A quarterfinal: American Heritage-Delray at Cardinal Gibbons, 7
Region 4-1A quarterfinal: Sagemont at Highlands Christian, 7
Region 4-1A quarterfinal at Brian Piccolo Park: Yeshiva vs. Posnack, 7
Big 8 quarterfinals at Fort Lauderdale: Dillard vs. Cardinal Gibbons, 6:30; Blanche Ely vs. Western, 8
Pine Crest at Palmer Trinity, 6
District 11-8A semifinals at Coral Glades: Taravella-Coral Glades winner vs. Deerfield Beach, 6; Coral Springs-South Plantation winner vs. Douglas, 7:30
District 12-8A final at Cypress Bay: 7
District 15-6A semifinals at Archbishop McCarthy: Pines Charter vs. Fort Lauderdale, 6; Hollywood Hills vs. McCarthy, 7:30
District 13-4A semifinals at Pine Crest: Chaminade-Pine Crest winner vs. Cardinal Gibbons, 5; University School-North Broward Prep winner vs. Coral Springs Charter, 7
District 12-3A at South Plantation
District 13-3A at South Broward: noon
District 14-1A at Cardinal Gibbons: 4
District 15-1A at Hollywood Chaminade: 1
State meet at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee
Big 8 semifinals at Fort Lauderdale: Pines Charter-St. Thomas winner vs. Blanche Ely-Western winner, 6:30; Dillard-Cardinal Gibbons winner vs. Cypress Bay-Deerfield Beach winner, 8