Ferguson goalkeeper Savannah Ward always welcomes pressure, and it’s a good thing because she sure had to deal with it Tuesday afternoon.
Ward was up to the task as she notched four saves in a penalty kick shootout that went extra frames (seven) as the Falcons prevailed over Miami Springs 2-1 (4-3 PKs) in a GMAC quarterfinal matchup at Traz Powell Stadium.
The Falcons (11-2-2) advanced to the GMAC semifinals, where they will take on MAST Academy at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Tropical Park. Palmetto will face Coral Gables at 5 p.m. in the first semifinal.
“PKs are riveting but at the same time nervewracking, but I always welcome the challenge,” said Ward. “It falls on our shoulders, but I don’t mind and I’m glad I came through for my team today.”
Having already made a pair of saves during the regulation five frames of penalty kicks, the teams went to extra kicks and Springs (13-4) could’ve won it when Ashley Ayala strode toward the ball with the sixth kick, but Ward dove to her right and made save No. 3.
After Gabrielle Austin knocked one home for Ferguson, Ward was up to the task one last time and stoned Springs’ Gabriella Andollo to end it.
“Savannah’s phenomenal,” Ferguson coach Richard Lopez said. “She’s the rock behind our defensive wall, understands the game, the position and has an innate ability to not let any kind of pressure effect her. When something does go wrong, it just rolls right off her back and she moves on. You need that from your keeper.”
▪ Coral Gables 3, TERRA 2: TERRA entered the quarterfinal against Gables with a perfect record, but left 15-1 when the Cavalier’s overcame a 2-1 second half deficit. Danielle Gomez scored the game winner with just 13 minutes left at Indian Hammocks Park. Amy Ransom scored the first two goals for Gables (13-3-2).
▪ MAST 2, Miami Beach 1: Daniella Clavijo and Karin Pomares each scored a goal as MAST Academy (11-5) knocked off Miami Beach at Flamingo Park.
▪ Palmetto 1, Hialeah Gardens 0: A Sofia Irigoyen goal 30 seconds into the second half, with Ava Gruener getting the assist, was all the scoring the visiting Panthers (16-0) would need as keeper Morgan Lang recorded the shutout.