River Cities Gazette

Miami Springs girls soccer team off to 8-1-1 start

GOAL SCORER: Ale Salazar (9) outduels a pair of Goleman defenders for a loose ball during Springs’ 7-0 victory over the Gators at Goleman High School last week. Salazar had one goal and two assists in the game and is currently the team’s leading scorer with 17 goals and five assists.
GOAL SCORER: Ale Salazar (9) outduels a pair of Goleman defenders for a loose ball during Springs’ 7-0 victory over the Gators at Goleman High School last week. Salazar had one goal and two assists in the game and is currently the team’s leading scorer with 17 goals and five assists.

River Cities Gazette

By now, anyone who knows anything about the girls soccer program at Miami Springs High School knows that the bar is set pretty darn high on an annual basis.

Lots of regular season wins year after year followed by postseason success that has seen them advance to the state final four in 2008 and 2009 and the regional finals each of the last three seasons leads annually to big expectations, and this year is no exception for the Lady Hawks.

Last Friday afternoon (Nov. 22) they traveled to Barbara Goleman High School and had very little trouble with the Gators, recording a 7-0 win to move their record this season to 8-1-1.

A close last-minute 2-1 loss to Ferguson on Nov. 8 and a 3-3 tie with Palmetto a week later represent the only blemishes on their record so far.

“We have a nice mix of youth and experience so far and good balance as well,” said Springs head coach William Drew, now entering his 13th year at the controls of the program. “I feel like we have the full package this year. The thing I like most is that we appear to have a nice balance across the board of girls that can put the ball in the net, so we don’t have to rely so heavily on just one person.”

That doesn’t mean Springs doesn’t have plenty of standout players, and leading the way is Ale Salazar. One of only two seniors on the team, Salazar was a first-team Miami Herald All-County selection last spring and currently leads the team with 17 goals and five assists. Her 17th goal came last week in the win over Goleman and she also threw in a pair of assists.

But, like Drew said, Salazar is surrounded by plenty of talent, including fellow senior Jenecil Villar; junior Sophia De la Puente, who is the second-leading scorer on the team with 13 goals and nine assists; junior Annet Cea (six goals, two assists); and sophomore Alyssa Deno (four goals, five assists).

But what has Drew most excited these days is all of the new faces up from what was an awfully talented bunch from the MS/VG youth program the last few years, a group led by freshman Brianna Gomez.

Gomez was a star goalkeeper for a youth team that enjoyed much success and now has stepped right in and taken over the reins as the team’s starting keeper like she didn’t miss a beat.

“She suffered a mild concussion and missed a few games a few weeks ago but we got her back last week against Goleman and she’s good to go,” said Drew. “Brianna was a club player coming up through the ranks and you can just tell when she steps onto the field that she is the complete package. She has great right-to-left and left-to-right lateral movement and can really jump as well. Not only that but she just has great soccer instincts and you can’t always coach something like that. You just have it.”

Two other freshmen currently occupy a spot in the starting lineup for Springs, namely Sophia Gomez (no relation to Brianna) and Katherine Inhoof. Sophia plays up front and has four goals and three assists to her young resumé so far, while Inhoof is the team’s sweeper.

“The chemistry is good right now,” said Drew. “The girls aren’t playing a lot of kick ball. They’re doing a good job of keeping the ball on the ground and moving it around effectively.”

Another thing that has Drew excited is the new regional alignments. Thanks to a quirky twist the last two years, Springs was forced to square off against state power Melbourne in the regional finals, losing both times (1-0 and last year 4-0), and had to watch the Bulldogs go on and win the state title.

“No more of that,” said Drew. “Now we would face someone from Palm Beach County in the regional finals and would not have to mess with Melbourne until state. Hopefully we’ll have that problem come next February.”

Read more River Cities stories from the Miami Herald

TEE TIME: Miami Springs Golf Director Paul O'Dell worked hard to try and bring the First Tee national golf program to his course which came closer to reality last Monday night when the Miami Springs council gave it the green light go-ahead.

    National golf program, First Tee gets green light from Miami Springs Council

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HOF INDUCTEES: There wasn’t an empty seat at the Miami Springs Country Club last week when Miami Springs High School held its Inaugural Hall of Fame Athletic Awards Ceremony. The Charter class of inductees included, from left, Buddy Goins, Doug Orr (special contributor), Karen Borgman (accepting for Wendy Fordyce), Bill Diaz, Shelly Dunkel, Phil Jones, Tosie LeGrand and Altermease Kendrick (accepting for husband Vince).

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PRESIDENTS CUP CHAMPS: With Commissioner Rebeca Sosa and Miami Springs Mayor Zavier Garcia in the background, the members of the Miami Springs/VG U-12 girls soccer team were a happy bunch last Friday night, April 11 when they posed with their plaques presented to them at the Opening Ceremonies of the River Cities Festival. That following a dramatic 2-1 win in the championship game of the Presidents Cup tournament in Auburndale, Fla. five days earlier.

    Miami Springs/Virginia Gardens U-12 girls soccer team wins President's Cup, honored at River Cities Festival

    A long and winding road of soccer success came to a thrilling conclusion on Sunday morning, April 6 when the Miami Springs/Virginia Gardens Under-12 girls soccer team broke down the doors of local history by becoming the first local girls soccer team to ever win the President's Cup. As a result the team was honored at the Opening Ceremonies of the River Cities Festival last weekend when County Commissioners Jose "Pepe" Diaz and Rebeca Sosa showed up for the ceremony.

Miami Herald

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