Four minutes later, Abigail Hopping centered a perfect pass from the corner to a streaking Jessica Hopping, who knocked it in to make it 3-0 at halftime.
• Region 4-5A final — Lourdes 2, Cypress Bay 0: Senior Forward Bailey Plummer couldn’t stop smiling after her Bobcats defeated Broward power Cypress Bay at Columbus.
“I’m ecstatic,” Plummer said. “This team has waited four years to do this — since our freshman year, the last time we went [to the state semifinals]. Because I’m a senior, I’m so excited.”
That excitement could grow because the Bobcats are just two wins away from their first state soccer title.
Lourdes (19-2) will be the host team Friday night in a state semifinal game against Palm Beach Central, which upset nationally ranked St. Thomas Aquinas on penalty kicks after they drew 2-2.
The site of the state semifinal has yet to be determined, but it could be Columbus or Tropical Park.
Lourdes’ victory on Tuesday avenged its 2012 regional finals loss to Cypress Bay. This time, though, the Bobcats were just too fast.
Coach Kate Dwyer, whose Cypress Bay team finished its season at 17-3-3, said she was impressed by Lourdes’ speed.
“[The Bobcats] were flying at us,” she said. The Lightning certainly had no answers for Plummer, who scored on a soft-touch header in the second minute. It was Plummer’s 32nd goal of the season, and the assist went to Amanda Delgado.
Lourdes dominated possession for most of the game and nearly added to its lead. But Plummer hit the post in the first half, and Christina Hoynack smacked it off the woodwork in the second.
Finally, in the 78th minute, Plummer’s pressure paid off. She got her foot on a 50-50 ball against Cypress Bay goalie Samara Stolzenberg, who took her down.
Lourdes was awarded a free kick, and Sophia Portuondo converted with a low boot to the left corner.
Jenny Herold got her 19th shutout of the season as the Bobcats’ defense allowed very little in the way of threats.