With everything she has had to go through during the past 12 months, one would have to think that the soccer gods owed Zandy Soree one.
Having had to deal with a life-threatening massive blood clot, called deep vein thrombosis, down her entire left leg and subsequently diagnosed with another rare condition on top of that, Soree’s long road back after more than eight months out of the sport culminated on Wednesday night.
That’s when she stepped up and found the top right corner of the net on a penalty kick just over three minutes into the first overtime and then waited for her Plantation American Heritage teammates to mob her as the Patriots pulled out a 2-1 overtime thriller over Land O’Lakes in a Class 3A state semifinal contest at Melbourne High School.
The win clears the way for the Patriots (21-1) as they try for their fourth consecutive state title when they take on Ponte Vedra, which edged Merritt Island 2-1 in the early semifinal, in the Class 3A title game Thursday at 9 p.m.
“It’s really amazing as this injury has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to overcome, and it’s still so painful and hard to play even now at times,” said Soree, who is a University of Central Florida commit. “I didn’t want my high school career to end tonight, and I’m just so proud of my teammates. We’ve worked so hard to get here, and now we’re really excited to have the opportunity we have in front of us to win four in a row.”
Soree’s game-winner came seconds after Land O’ Lakes’ Mia Thielbar was called for a foul off a corner kick when she knocked senior forward Dejah Cason to the ground in front of the net.
Cason, easily the fastest player on the field, took numerous hard hits all night and was playing with a painful injury to her left arm when she went down hard early in the second half.
“We’ve had so many injuries all year that it’s been like trying to plug up one hole after another and dealing with Dejah out there tonight was only fitting,” said Heritage head coach Cindy Marcial, who has lost four starters since the start of the season. “She got hit pretty hard in the arm and we had to take her out for a bit before she went back out there and then we did what we’ve been doing all season — just found a way.”
“I’m not sure, I guess maybe I sprained it or something,” Cason said. “I fell funny, it hurt but I just kept going, I had to. My last game is [Thursday] night and nothing will keep me off that field.”
Heritage took a 1-0 lead in the game’s 22nd minute when Cason beat the Gators’ defense down the right side, dribbled back inside and found the top right corner of the net.
The Gators (19-3) tied the score with 22:15 left when, following a Heritage foul, Sydny Nasello took a direct kick from 20 yards out on the left side and place it perfectly in front of the net where teammate Samantha Epifanio headed it past Patriots keeper Nikki Farguharson.
Heritage will be looking for its 10th state title (second-best in the state behind St. Thomas Aquinas’ 14) and hopes to become the fourth team in state history to win at least four titles in a row. Aquinas (1993-99), Douglas (2003-07) and Orange Park St. John’s Country Day (2012-1616) are the others.
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St. Thomas Aquinas star outside hitter Brook Bauer was named to PrepVolleyball.com’s 2015 All-Americans list. Bauer, a 6-1 junior, has committed to Pepperdine and this season led the Raiders to their second consecutive Class 7A state championship. Bauer totaled 286 kills, 200 digs and 45 aces during the season.
BOYS’ BASKETBALL Semifinals
▪ District 15-6A — Northwestern 44, Central 62: HT: 40-26 CEN. NW: Walker 3, Sutton 3, Berry 15, Fleming 3, McRae 9, McFadden 9, Clark 2. CEN: Wilson 27, Cooper 10, Turnier 16, Pierre-Louis 3, Gibson 6. Three-Pointers: Wilson, Cooper, Walker, Sutton, McRae, Berry 5. Rebounds: Wilson 14. Steals: Wilson 8. Assist: Wilson 3. Blocks: Wilson 4.
▪ District 15-3A — Archbishop Carroll 68, Archimedean 14: AC: Anglada 12, Cordero 11, Barbic 10, Aarestrup 8, Deribeaux 8, Fred 7, Miralles 7, Villamil 3, Silva 2. ARC: Reyes 13, Petrakis 1. Rebounds: Miralles 9. Assists: Cordero 5. Three-pointers: Cordero 3, Reyes 3.
▪ District 16 7A — Mater 62, Ronald Reagan 26: MA (22-4): Quintana 5, Mejia 16, Diaz 11, Frye 10, Rodriguez 4, Stern 6, Monsanto 5, Duquesne 3, De La Rua 2. RR: Matos 5, Loaces 3, Perez 1, Cortes 2, Lopez 7, Burgos 2, Canto 4, Fernandez 2. HT: MA 30-7. Assists: Frye 5. Rebounds: Stern 11. Steals: Stern 7. Blocks: Stern 4. Three-pointers:Mejia 2.
▪ District 14-8A — Krop 49, American 41: KRO: K. Jeanty 18, S. James 4, T. Oconnor 6, J. Clark 10, F. Souza 11. AME: K. Johnson 9, R.Jones 4, S. Harris 10, K.Evans 2, A. Copeland 8, J. Narvaez 2, J. Vilchez 4. Rebounds: K.Jeanty 17. Assists: J. Clark 3.
▪ District 14-8A — Miami High 57, North Miami 47: MIA (14-7): Mera 11, Reyes 1, Sierra 25, Arce 5, Jean-Jacques 13, Shannon 2. NM: B.Bissainthe 8, Atkinson 1, Francois 6, St. Olien 3, Saintil 6, R. Bissainthe 12, Cherry 2, Cassamajor 4. Rebounds: Sierra 17. Steals: Shannon 3. Assists: Shannon 7. Three-pointers:Sierra 2. HT: 34-22 MIA.
▪ District 16-6A — Sunset 68, Belen 58: SUN 16-6.
▪ District 15-8A— South Miami 65, Columbus 54: SM: Arnold 31, Dawson 26.
▪ District 15-4A — Booker T. Washington 50, Edison 36.
▪ District 15-8A — Coral Gables 51, Southwest 44.
▪ District 16-7A —Goleman 58, Hialeah-Miami Lakes 47.
▪ District 15-4A — Mater Lakes 53, La Salle 50.
▪ District 16-4A — Keys Gate 72, Key West 69.
▪ District 14-3A — Miami Country Day 63, Archbishop Curley 53.
▪ District 16-6A —Miami Springs 56, Doral Academy 45.
▪ District 14-3A — SLAM Academy 67, Scheck Hillel 39.
▪ District 16-4A — Ransom Everglades 48, St. Brendan 46.
▪ Late Tuesday, District 15-2A — Miami Christian 96, Divine Savior 35.
▪ Late Tuesday, District 16-8A — Coral Reef 64, South Dade 45.
▪ Palmer Trinity 15, Everglades Prep 5:WP: Lauren Keller (1-0). PT 2-0. Top Performers: Lauren Keller 9 K’s, 4-4, 3 R. Paty Martinez 2-2, 2 RBI. Dani de Sola 2-3, double.
▪ Southridge 5, Lourdes 3:WP: Alyssa Fonda (2-0) 7 K’s, 0 BB. Top Performers: Lisa Bender 3-4, 3 RBI. Britney Campbell 2-4, 2 R. Samantha Revilla 1-2, R. SR 2-0.
▪ Hialeah Gardens 15, Ferguson 14: Top Performers: FER: Samantha Oliva 3-5, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI. Amanda Chica 2-3, 2 RBI. Kaina Lisibach 2-3 2 RBI.
▪ Hialeah 12, Reagan 0: WP: Kassandra Roig (1-0) 0 R, 4 K’s. 0 BB. Top performers: Kassandra Roig 2-3, RBI, 2 R, SB. Christina Garcia 2-3, 3 RBI, 2R, 2 SB. Kenberlyn Lopez 1-3, RBI, R.
▪ Palmetto 7, South Miami 0: 1.Wreder 8-0. 2. Montoya8-0. 3.Alicea8-0. 4.Vanderreis 8-0. PAL 1-0.
▪ Palmetto 7, South Miami 0: 1.Fung 8-0. 2.Wilson 8-0. 3.Fung 8-0. 4.Yang 8-0. PAL 1-0.
▪ Ransom Everglades 5, Belen 2: 3.Rubell 8-2. 4.Dill 8-0. 5. Visan 8-1. RE 1-0.
Class 4A state semifinal at Melbourne: St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Viera, 6:30
Class 3A state final at Melbourne: 9
District 15-2A final at Miami Christian: 7
Region 4-8A quarterfinal: Everglades at Miami High, 7
Region 4-8A quarterfinal: Hialeah at Flanagan, 7
Region 4-8A quarterfinal: Varela at Lourdes, 7
Region 4-8A quarterfinal: Ferguson at South Dade, 7
Region 3-8A quarterfinal: Cypress Bay at Deerfield Beach, 7
Region 3-8A quarterfinal: Coral Glades at Piper, 7
Region 4-7A quarterfinal: Nova at Mater Academy, 7
Region 4-7A quarterfinal: Reagan at South Broward, 7
Region 4-7A quarterfinal: Palm Beach Lakes at Fort Lauderdale, 7
Region 4-7A quarterfinal: Blanche Ely at West Boca Raton, 7
Region 4-6A quarterfinal: Miami Springs at Norland, 7
Region 4-6A quarterfinal: Northwestern at Doral, 7
Region 4-6A quarterfinal: Dillard at Melbourne Eau Gallie, 7
Region 4-6A quarterfinal: Sebastian River at Northeast, 7
Region 4-5A quarterfinal: Fort Pierce Westwood at Plantation American Heritage, 7
Region 4-5A quarterfinal: Hallandale at Riviera Beach Suncoast, 7
Region 4-4A quarterfinal: Monsignor Pace at Gulliver, 7
Region 4-4A quarterfinal: Keys Gate at Booker T. Washington, 7
Region 4-4A quarterfinal: Calvary Christian at Coral Springs Charter, 7
Region 4-4A quarterfinal: Boca St. Andrew’s at Cardinal Gibbons, 7
Region 4-3A quarterfinal: Somerset Central Miramar at Miami Country Day, 7
Region 4-3A quarterfinal at Davie JCC: Archbishop Curley at Posnack, 7
Region 4-3A quarterfinal: Archbishop Carroll at Palmer Trinity, 7
Region 4-3A quarterfinal: Marathon at Florida Christian, 7
Region 3-3A quarterfinal: Yeshiva at Westminster Academy, 7
Region 3-3A quarterfinal: Sagemont at Benjamin, 7
Region 4-2A quarterfinal: Hebrew Academy at Island Christian, 7
Region 4-2A quarterfinal: Princeton Christian at Miami Christian, 7
Region 4-2A quarterfinal: Donna Klein Jewish at Zion Lutheran, 7
Region 4-2A quarterfinal: Hollywood Christian at Boca Grandview Prep, 7
American Heritage: Soccer – Dejah Cason (UM), Alexandra Soree (UCF), Dara Magdaleno (American). Basketball – James Love (Kansas State), Hayley Duren (Pepperdine). Tennis – Zack Ebenfeld (RPI). Lacrosse – Jarrett Alfero (Rutgers). Softball – Madison Canby (Columbia), Melissa Rini (Caldwell). Baseball – Michael Cortelli (Amhurst), Taylor D'Agostino (Christopher Newport), Gary Mattis (FAU), Kyle Carter (Bates College). Golf – Tyler Strafaci (Georgia Tech), Maria Merchan (USF). Swimming - Julien Pinon (Auburn), Audrey Mason (Chicago).
Archbishop McCarthy: Soccer – Abby Ribas (FAU). Volleyball – Sahara Aqui (Carnegie Mellon). Baseball – Anthony Rodriguez (Maryville College).
Belen Jesuit: Crew – Daniel Brennan (Pennsylvania).
Cardinal Gibbons: Volleyball – Kassie Akouri-Tejedor (Long Island), Aya Lechin (East Tennessee), Sarah Martin (James Madison), Daniella Molinari (Cal State Northridge), Bailey Pearlman (Delaware). Basketball – Michelle Cohen (Colorado State), Christa Tumminello (Lees-McRae). Soccer – Mackenzie Crittenberger (Charleston).
Chaminade-Madonna: Baseball – Michael Blanco (Barry).
Coral Springs Charter: Softball – Kayla Scaperotta (Northern Illinois), Skylar Fairchild (Detroit), Barbara Vega (Lake Sumter State). Baseball – James Doherty (Rollins).
Cooper City: Softball – Sommer Grzybek (Columbia), Grace Gonzalez (Eastern University), Karina Cardona (Wesley College), Sabrina Hebding (Webber International), Leanna Hernandez (South Florida State College). Water polo – Danny Rafael (Wagner). Baseball – Angel Almonte (Hillsborough College), Richard Silva (Wake Tech.
Cypress Bay: Tennis – Michelle Eisenberg (Binghamton), Samara Eisenberg (Binghamton), Laura Herrera (Notre Dame), Sibel Can (Lehigh), Miranda Cano (Loyola University), Shene Disbergen (Virginia Tech), Andrew Heller (Yale), Pierina Imparato (UNC Charlotte), Sofia Moreno (Belmont Abbey). Lacrosse – Anthony Courcelle (Marquette), Cameron Valle (Florida Southern), Kylie Loporto (Lenoir-Rhyne). Soccer – Maria Munoz (Florida Tech), Marivi Daza (Barry University). Swimming – Marco Guarente (Florida). Softball – Maggie Scott (Embry-Riddle). Baseball – Jose Natera (Wake Technical CC).
Dade Christian: Soccer – Abby Clanton (West Alabama).
Douglas: Softball – Sami Feller (Emory). Basketball – Zach Knecht (Susquehanna). Soccer – Julia Corin (SCAD), Nia Perkovich (Lynn), Emma Jacobs (Kansas State), Priscella Camacho (Broward College), Daleisha Mowatt (Broward College).
Flanagan: Baseball – Dylan O’Connell (FAU), Eric Rivera (FAU), Peter Moforis (Palm Beach Atlantic), Nick McDonald (Alabama State). Soccer – Tyler Babb (Arkansas Pine Bluff). Basketball – Mikiah Harrington (South Carolina).
Gulliver: Soccer – Ryan Shellow (Cornell).
Monsignor Pace: Soccer – Juliette Dubon (Campbell).
North Broward Prep: Soccer – Rachel Blow (Tennessee Tech).
Piper: Baseball - Chris Nunez (Shawnee State), Ryan Taylor (Shawnee State), Joe Spano (Shawnee State), Joe Sallustio (Nichols College).
St. Thomas Aquinas: Baseball – Andrew Garcia (Maryville), Cameron Krzeminski (Florida Gulf Coast), Anthony Mulrine (Samford), Tyler Suellentrop (Polk State). Basketball – Mary Katherine Moore (Bucknell), Christopher Metzger (Flagler College). Cross-country – Alexa Cruz (Alabama). Lacrosse – Michael Adler (Saint Joseph’s), Nicholas Borodiak (Tampa), Matthew McCawley (Young Harris College), Louis Yovino (Furman), Carley Adams (Arizona State), Madison Cunningham (Penn State), Sara Gianino (Saint Leo), Logan Millican (Arizona State), Caroline Rowand (Lenoir-Rhyne), Madison Woodall (Arizona State). Soccer – Gianni Serio (Belmont Abbey), Riley Tennant (Valdosta State). Softball – Katherine Thais Gonzalez (Michigan), Shannon Harrington (Catholic University), Brianna Stella (Montevallo), Brooke Stock (Babson). Track and field – Khalifa St. Fort (UCLA). Volleyball – Kaylie McHugh (Tulane). Water polo – Alexander Pullin (Bucknell).
Somerset: Baseball – Luis Chavez (Miami Dade College), Brandon Valentin (ASA College), Kenny Moreno (ASA College), Juan Teixeira (ASA College), Mark Bejar (ASA College). Soccer – Jonathan Bolanos (High Point).
South Dade: Soccer – Bania Duran (Barry), Johanna Diaz (Johnson and Wales).
South Plantation: Soccer – Allyson Bourque (Andrew College).
West Broward: Soccer – Danielle Antieau (Clemson), Julianne Ramos (Dominican College), Gabriela Moreira (Lynn). Volleyball – Samanta Arenas (Cornell).