Timely touches threaded through the Cypress Bay defense carried the St. Thomas Aquinas girls to a 4-0 victory Tuesday in a Class 5A regional semifinal.
The Raiders (17-3-2) dominated possession and 50-50 challenges before gouging the Lightning (16-3-1) for three second-half scores.
“Obviously, the more physical team wins more balls and gets more chances,” said St. Thomas Aquinas midfielder Dallas Dorosy. “We are pretty tough to beat on our home field. We can make things happen up top more. After the first goal, I knew we were going to get more.”
Bella Dorosy scored the first goal after a Bella Martinez cross found her boot in the first half. Dorosy finished the dish with a sliding shot past the keeper for a 1-0 lead.
Freshman goalkeeper Abigail Pangallo tallied a clean sheet in the match.
“She is always very solid,” Raiders coach Carlos Giron said. “She likes to come out of the goal. For being a freshman, she is very calm.”
The Raiders found the net three times in the second half to calm the crowd. Mary McCormick finished a cross from the right side and give the Raiders a 2-0 lead with 18:25 remaining.
“We can’t finish against them for some reason,” Lightning coach Kate Dwyer said. “They are St. Thomas for a reason. They are private and get to recruit. We aren’t meant to hang with these schools. I’m proud of our girls to be able to step up and play with them.”
Dallas Dorosy scored the Raiders’ third goal and Brittany Simpson scored the final goal with less than two minutes remaining.
“Dallas has been doing an excellent job controlling the ball in the middle,” Giron said. “She is our quarterback in there. She does everything possible to make sure we can dominate in there and distribute from there. It makes it a lot easier for everyone else.”
The Raiders, who lost 3-2 to Palm Beach Central in last year’s regional final, play the winner of Ferguson and Lourdes.
“Hopefully, we don’t do what happened last year,” Dorosy said. “We are really driven. We want to win so badly. Last year it was really tough. That was the worst thing. We are trying not to go to penalty kicks, not to lose, and just go all of the way.”
• Region 3A Semifinal: American Heritage 4, Archbishop McCarthy 0: Through the first 29 minutes of Tuesday night’s Class 3A regional semifinal, Archbishop McCarthy challenged defending state champion American Heritage with five players on the back line.
Junior forward Melanie Monteagudo and the Patriots broke through one minute later en route to a 4-0 victory over the Mavericks at Heritage Field.
“I think we came out [and] played hard,” Heritage coach Cindy Marcial said. “They obviously came out and played hard. This is probably one of the best teams we’ve played all year.”
Following a pair of McCarthy corners, Heritage (26-0-1) raced down the field. After the initial push failed, senior Michaela Kopecki found Monteagudo, whose shot from the top of the box found the net.
Three minutes later, sophomore Isabella de Almagro fed a give-and-go to senior Martha Thomas, who then crossed to Monteagudo. She beat the goalie to the ball and scored.
Sophomore Dejah Cason added a goal from Thomas one minute into the second half. Kopecki’s free kick just outside the box in the 50th minute capped the scoring.
The Patriots handed the Mavericks (23-4-1) all four of their losses this season, including a defeat in last week’s District 15-3A title game.
“It’s exciting to be in the playoffs,” said Monteagudo, who has 59 goals this season. “This is what we work for all year, but we’re not going to be happy unless we win states. So that’s what we’re really looking forward to.”
Christina De Nicola
• Region 4A Semifinal: Pembroke Pines Charter 4, Miami Springs 0: The celebration was loud on the Pembroke Pines Charter sideline when the final whistle blew.
The Jaguars, a program making just its third regional appearance in its 12-year history, broke new ground on Tuesday night, dominating and defeating tradition-rich Miami Springs 4-0 at Pines Charter High School.
The win advances Pines Charter (18-5-1), up until now known for its powerhouse softball program, into its first regional final on Friday night. The Jaguars will travel north to take on Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer with a berth in the state final four in Melbourne on the line. Miami Springs, which had gone to eight of the previous nine regional finals, finished 21-3-1.
“This is sweet for sure,” said Pines Charter coach Carlos Velasquez. “It’s been a long and patient process for everyone involved, but now we’re seeing all of the hard work pay off. I’m happy for this program, for this school and everyone involved in the program. Maybe I’m a little happy for me, too. Now we want to keep it going.”
Velasquez watched as his team came out and established its superior speed and ball-handling skills as the Jaguars dominated the first half.
They scored their first goal just seven minutes into the game when Samantha Toribio took a centering pass from Courtney Zaher in front of the net and knocked it past Miami Springs keeper Brianna Gomez.
Pines Charter never found another gear other than full throttle as Amy Etchechurry scored from a severe right angle in the 21st minute to make it 2-0, and Rachel Lorenzo knocked one home five minutes before halftime to make it 3-0 and pretty much end the issue.
The Jaguars throttled things back in the second half and played more of a keep-away style to protect the lead before Zaher scored.
“We knew if we could come out aggressively against them early on and grab a quick lead that it might take the wind out of their sails, and that’s what we managed to do,” said Velasquez. “Our girls played really well tonight and I’m proud of all of them.”