Taravella senior Darwin Espinal was in third grade the last time the Trojans earned a regional victory a decade ago.
On Tuesday, he scored a goal and recorded three assists as Taravella beat host South Plantation 4-1 in a Class 5A regional quarterfinal at Sandra Darr Field at Paladin Stadium.
“We’re just happy that we won,’’ said Espinal, whose school last reached regional play in 2008, losing to South Broward. “It was a good game for us. We scored early, so that helped us a lot, and we just kept possession of the ball.’’
Espinal’s strike on a penalty kick gave the Trojans (19-3-2) a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute. Sorel St. Fleur had knocked down sophomore John Lewis on a cross. Two minutes later, senior Estaban Ochoa floated a kick over the keeper on an assist from Espinal.
Sophomore Luis Villamizar deflected Espinal’s cross following a corner with 28 minutes remaining to extend the lead to 3-0.
Espinal collected his third assist in the 60th minute when Lewis beat the incoming keeper to a pass at the top of the box, driving it into the open net.
South Plantation (11-8-3), searching for its first regional victory since 1998, had upset St. Thomas Aquinas 1-0 in overtime last week to capture the District 12-5A title. St. Fleur scored the Paladin goal on a penalty kick in the 76th minute.
Taravella will play either the Raiders on Saturday night.
“We created a lot of good opportunities and finished a couple against a very good team,’’ first-year coach Mike Goodrich said. “This year there’s good chemistry on the team. They work hard and listen.’’
CHRISTINA DE NICOLA
• Region 4-5A quarterfinal — West Broward 3, Miami Beach 2: A beautiful corner kick/header into the top left corner of the net from the combination of Alexander Rodriguez to Nicolas Perez in the game’s 63rd minute snapped a 2-2 tie and proved to be the game-winner for West Broward at Milander Stadium.
It marked the first-ever regional win for the Bobcats (12-7-3), who will now travel to Cypress Bay on Saturday night for a regional semifinal contest and a chance to avenge a 1-0 overtime loss to the Lightning in the district final last week. The win also avenged WB’s 2-1 loss to Beach in the same round a year ago. Beach finished 12-5-3.
“Amazing,” said West Broward coach Rodrigo Frank. “Nicolas is the shortest kid out there on the field, so who would’ve ever figured he’s going to be the one to go up and head it in — but that’s how soccer is sometimes.”
The first half was a relative scorefest as each team put two goals in. West Broward took the lead in the 13th minute on a Nicolas Guevara goal to go up 1-0.
Beach tied it 1-1 in the 27th minute when Tomas Moffat knocked in a loose ball off a rebound from the keeper who could not handle an Alan Diaz direct kick from 20 yards out.
The Bobcats went back up 2-1 three minutes later on a corner kick from Santiago Santiestevan that found Guevara who headed it into the top left corner. WB’s lead lasted just two minutes, though, when the Hi-Tides executed their own corner kick, Diaz centering and Christian Sanchez popping it in to tie it at 2.
• Region 4-5A quarterfinal — Cypress Bay 2, Miami High 0: Though not as sharp as coach John Ramos would have wanted, Cypress Bay — scoring both its goals in the first half — used its methodical quick-passing possession game to eliminate visiting Miami High.
“We played with rhythm with our passing in the first half, but the second half was more chaotic,” Ramos said as his Lightning (17-2-4) continues its bid for a second consecutive state title, advancing to Friday’s state round of 16 playoff match against West Broward at Cypress Bay on Saturday.
Cypress Bay will attempt to defeat West Broward for a fourth time; the last meeting was a 1-0 victory in double overtime for the district title last week.
The Stingarees (14-6-3) were left without taking a shot on goal against Cypress Bay goalkeeper Hector Ferndandez in the first half. The Lightning, on the other hand, took nine shots, converting two against Miami goalkeeper Kevin Cabrera, who finished with 13 saves for the Stings.
Daniel Gutierrez opened the scoring in the third minute, lofting a bouncing pass from left winger Nicolas Gueravara near the left pole for the one-goal lead.
Cypress Bay added to its lead 15 minutes later when Juan Todeschini took a shot from 17 yards out that deflected off a Sting defender and bounced off the goalkeeper’s hand into goal.
• Region 4-4A quarterfinal — Hialeah American 1, South Broward 0: A penalty-kick goal in the 62nd minute by Diego Arcon was all the Patriots needed to defeat the Bulldogs and advance to the region semifinal Wednesday night at South Broward.
Each team came into the game without its starting goal keeper. American freshman Javier Mulero started for the Patriots and produced a shutout. The Bulldogs used their top goal scorer, Francisco Patalano, in goal. Late in the game, Patalano changed his uniform and came in to play attacker.
"The Patriots will face Fort Lauderdale in the region semifinal.
• Region 4-3A quarterfinal — American Heritage 5, Okeechobee 3: American Heritage received key contributions from Samuel Vinson and Donald Tomlinson, but three goals by Okeechobee’s Daniel Rodriguez kept the match close.
American Heritage (20-3-2) will host district rival Pembroke Pines Charter in the regional semifinal. Vinson and Tomlinson scored two goals apiece for the Patriots.
The Patriots held the advantage in possession for most of the match and had multiple scoring chances due to its patience and speed. Okeechobee finished 9-8-2.
American Heritage added two more goals to take a 3-0 lead late in the half.
Rodriguez scored his first goal in the 38th minute for Okeechobee, but the Patriots countered a minute later on a goal by Vinson.
• Region 4-4A quarterfinal — Ft. Lauderdale 3, Westland Hialeah 0: Still a relative newcomer to the regional playoffs, the Ft. Lauderdale boys soccer team traveled to Milander Stadium in Hialeah and turned in an impressive performance, knocking off Westland Hialeah to advance to Saturday’s regional semifinals against American.
Playing in only their second-ever regional game, the Flying L’s (17-6-1) scored twice in the first half to build a 2-0 halftime lead and coasted from there, marking their first-ever regional victory.
Ft. Lauderdale opened the scoring in the game’s eighth minute when Vladimyr Joseph, off a centering pass from Oscar Salsa that Westland keeper Kevin Gonzalez could not control and knocked in the loose ball.
In the 24th minute, Gonzalez was called for a foul inside the penalty box and Benson Orelien drilled the ensuing penalty kick into the bottom right corner of the net to make it 2-0. Joseph added his second goal of the night in the 57th minute to complete the scoring.
“A disappointing night but that doesn’t diminish what we did this year,” said Westland coach Greg Solano whose team finished 9-7-6. BILL DALEY
• Region 3-5A quarterfinal — St. Thomas Aquinas 2, Deerfield Beach 1: Max Smerilli scored on a crossing pass with eight seconds to play in the first overtime as St. Thomas Aquinas edged Deerfield Beach in a thrilling Region 3-5A quarterfinal at Deerfield.
After Matheus Ale scored in the second minute for St. Thomas (15-2-3) for a 1-0 lead and Morinvil Dawing scored for Deerfield Beach a minute later to tie it at 1, the game remained deadlocked with both teams having scoring chances that went for not.
As the clock ticked down in the first overtime, Deerfield Beach goalie Georges Cunha inexplicably came out of the goal for the ball rolling to down the sideline. Aquinas’ Christian Boorom beat him to the ball, crossed it as Smerilli finished it off.
Deerfield Beach’s season ended at 18-4-1.