The Varela boys’ soccer team was not satisfied with the way the District 16-5A final with Killian played out, falling to the Cougars in penalty kicks after defeating them twice in the regular season.
On Tuesday night, Varela got its revenge in a game that meant a bit more, eliminating its district foe 2-0 at Tropical Park.
“I believe losing to them in districts was good medicine for us,” Varela coach Juan Monge said. “I was super proud of what happened [Tuesday] compared to what happened the last game that we played them. The guys played well and we finished [Tuesday].”
Forward Haitam Chahti kicked a bullet into the back of the net in the 68th minute to put Varela up two and bring Monge to his knees, knowing the result was virtually sealed.
After he and Julian Gigante pressured the opposing defenders and goalkeeper deep in Killian territory, Gigante stole the ball and tapped it to Chahti to set him up between three defenders.
“My teammate was luckily in a good spot, back-heeled it to me — one touch through three — and I finished. Team effort,” Chahti said.
The Vipers (11-5-2), winners of 10 of their last 11 games, advance to a regional final with unbeaten Cypress Bay, the team that ousted them in the same round in a 5-1 rout last season.
Luis Peralta scored the first Vipers goal on a cross from the left side from Sebastien Joseph.
Killian (10-8-4) had an impressive postseason run come to an end. Entering districts as the No. 4 seed, the Cougars eliminated top-seeded Ferguson in the semifinal to clinch a regional berth and won the district title over Varela in penalty kicks.
They reached Tuesday’s regional semifinal after another penalty-kick upset in regional quarterfinals over Miami Beach that involved a goal late in stoppage time to force overtime.
▪ Region 4-1A semifinal — Archimedean 2, SLAM Academy 1: Two first-half goals were all Archimedean needed to defeat SLAM Academy and move on to the Region 4-1A final at Kendall Soccer Park.
Bijan Zojaji scored the first Owls’ goal on a penalty kick in the 13th minute.
The second Archimedean goal came on a strike by David Cuitiva in the 34th minute.
SLAM lost a player to a red card in the 51st minute, but respond with a goal by Luis Becerra to get within one score.
“We want nothing less than a state championship,” Zojaji said. “We are going to play our hearts out in the final.”
Archimedean (19-2-1) will face host Scheck Hillel for the region final on Saturday at 8 p.m.
▪ Region 4-5A Semifinal — Cypress Bay 2, Cooper City 1: Gordon Phipps collapsed the keeper and pocketed a far-post shot into side netting to break a scoreless tie in the second half of Cypress Bay’s semifinal victory against Cooper City.
“It felt good to get our confidence up and give us a boost,” Phipps said. “And to keep playing well and moving forward.”
The Lightning (20-0-2) increased its lead on a Simon Velez score, but deflected an own goal to make the game close in the final minute. Mateo Pieschacon had two assists in the win. Cypress Bay, winner of four of the past five state titles, faces Varela in the regional final.
▪ Region 4-1A semifinal — Scheck Hillel 4, Westminster Academy 2: Unbeaten Scheck Hillel took down host Westminster Academy behind two quick goals and two second-half goals by Netty Silberman.
“I always knew our skill was better. We were the better team,” Hillel coach Ben Magidson said. “And of course, my superstar [Silberman] needs to play like a superstar. Like last game, two goals in the second half.”
Silberman also scored two second-half goals — after scoring one in the first half — in Hillel’s 3-1 win over Posnack in the regional quarterfinals.
Hillel (15-0-1) scored on its first two shots in the opening six minutes. Daniel Berkman made it 1-0 in the second minute on a rocket from the top of the box into the left side of the net. Max Stern tacked on another goal four minutes later with a flick shot from outside the box that just dropped in over the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Thomas Messer.
Westminster Academy (11-6-1) cut the lead to one in the 10th minute on a penalty kick by James Scasserra. The senior tied the game four minutes into the second half after beating three defenders down the field for a close-range shot.
Silberman put Hillel back on top six minutes later with a goal from five yards out as Messer mishandled the ball. Silberman sealed the game with four minutes remaining on a strike to the top left corner of the net.
Hillel will play Archimedean in the regional finals at 7 p.m. Friday. The Lions have eliminated Archimedean from the regional playoffs the last two seasons.
▪ Region 4-2A semifinal — Ransom Everglades 1, MAST Academy 0: Michael Colonna came through with a crucial goal again, and goalkeeper Antonio Ferrer made a diving stop in the final minutes to ensure Ransom Everglades’ playoff run would continue.
Ransom beat MAST Academy, with the winning goal at home coming in the 63rd minute on a perfect pass from Alex Stuart. Colonna scored two goals in the second half of Ransom’s 4-0 win against Key West in the previous round.
“That was amazing — a team effort all-around. We got the decision, but we battled the entire game for that,” said Colonna, who dived onto the turf in celebration after his line drive boot down the middle. “MAST is a great team. We knew they were going to come hungry in their third crack against us.”
Ransom, which won both previous meetings this season, will try to win three regional games in the same year for the first time Friday. The Raiders (21-4) were eliminated in the playoffs the past four years by reigning state champ Gulliver Prep, which MAST upset 1-0 in penalty kicks in the regional quarterfinals last week.
MAST (14-3-4) nearly netted the equalizer on Daniel Godoy’s long blast toward the left post in the 75th minute, but Ferrer dove right and blocked the ball with his hands.
▪ Region 4-3A semifinal — Mourning 3, Jackson 2: After trailing 2-0 at halftime, Mourning manufactured three goals within 16 minutes at Traz Powell Stadium to advance past Jackson (16-2-4) into the Region 4-3A final.
Juan Jose Bustos scored the second Sharks’ goal on a blast from the top of the box that went through the fingers of the Jackson goalkeeper. Bustos also scored the go-ahead goal on a lose ball to put Mourning (14-3-2) up in the 61st minute.
Jackson’s first-half goals were scored on a put-back by Kevin Caballero and a free kick by Pablo Medina. Mourning’s first goal was scored by Juan Quintero.
Mourning plays at Immokalee in the region final on Friday.