MELBOURNE -- Frustrated during 80-plus minutes of scoreless soccer on Friday afternoon, the St. Thomas Aquinas girls’ soccer team kept its poise, stayed patient and eventually saw that patience pay off.
Locked up in a scoreless regulation tie with Flagler Palm Coast, the Raiders finally saw their persistence rewarded just 2:34 into the first overtime. That’s when junior Dallas Dorosy took a perfect centering pass from Kaitlin Tighe and beat the FPC defense down the middle to create a one-on-one opportunity, knocking it into the right side of the net to give her team a 1-0 victory in a Class 5A state semifinal game at Eastern Florida State College.
Already the runaway leader with a dozen state titles, Aquinas, 19-3-2 and ranked sixth nationally by NSCAA, will be looking for lucky No. 13 and third in the last four years as the win moves them into the Class 5A state title game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday where they will take on Vero Beach which defeated Palm Harbor University 1-0 in the other semifinal.
“I saw the ball pop out behind the line and ran as fast as I could to get to the ball because I saw that they (defenders) were just standing there so I took my opportunity to go right by them,” said Dorosy. “KT (Tighe) fed me a great ball and I just took off with it and popped it in.”
It was probably a case of “finally” for the Raiders as Palm Coast had spent most of regulation play sitting back playing effective air tight defense and keeping Aquinas from any quality chances as evidenced by the 25-2 shots advantage for the Raiders.
Aquinas finally started to wear down FPC in the final six minutes when they had three golden chances to win it in regulation.
With six minutes left, Dallas Dorosy fired a perfect centering pass to sister Isabella who was right in front of the net and got a clean head on the ball only to have it richochet off the crossbar before being cleared out.
Two minutes later Isabella returned the favor to her sister rifling a perfect thru ball down the middle creating a one-on-one breakaway for Dallas. But Palm Coast keeper Leah Leach came out to force Dallas to commit early and made a great save. With a minute left, Isabella broke loose down the middle for another great chance and again, Leach made another incredible save.
“We were frustrated but kept our heads up because we knew we had them on their heals,” said Dallas. “They (Palm Coast) were pretty much playing all defense and sitting back but towards the end of the game we could sense that we were starting to wear them down and creating good chances so we were confident going into overtime that we might be able to pop one in.”
“We’ve had a lot of teams play us like that all season and it’s just a matter of our girls being patient enough to know that eventually we’ll get one in,” said Aquinas head coach Carlos Giron. “I told them going into overtime that it looked like we were starting to wear them down a little bit late in regulation and to just keep pressing, that if we got another quality chance we’d score which is exactly what happened.”