Plantation American Heritage is vying for a three-peat.
St. Thomas Aquinas is aiming for a repeat.
And Pembroke Pines Charter is trying to win its first.
All three Broward County teams in this year’s girls’ soccer state final four have state tournament experience.
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Miami Country Day, Miami-Dade County’s lone representative, is hoping to make its state debut a memorable one.
The tournament begins Wednesday in Melbourne with each of South Florida’s teams facing a tough road, but likely none more than the young Spartans in Class 1A.
Miami Country Day (23-3) takes on Lakeland Christian (18-1-2), a team that has reached the state semifinals for the fourth consecutive season, at 12:30 p.m. in a state semifinal.
Should the Spartans overcome the talented Vikings, they would face either Community School of Naples or three-time defending state champion Orange Park St. Johns Country Day in the state final on Thursday.
Miami Country Day has had one of the most potent attacks in Dade this season led mostly by freshmen Amanda Martin, Ava Hansen and Yakira Matisonn.
Martin was one of the county’s top scorers this season with 46 goals and 15 assists. Hansen scored 29 goals and had 21 assists and Matisonn had 17 goals and 24 assists.
Another freshman Laurel Ivory played in the field most of the year, scoring 15 goals before moving back to goalkeeper, her natural position, in the team’s 1-0 regional semifinal win against Marathon.
The Spartans have only four seniors and have 14 players on the roster that are sophomores, freshmen or eighth-graders. But several starters have played varsity soccer since middle school.
Miami Country Day has also benefitted from the experience of coach Kyllene Carter-Weiss, a former Barry University standout who is in her eighth season coaching the Spartans. Carter-Weiss coached Barry for six seasons and led the Bucs to four conference championships and five NCAA tournament appearances, and is in the Barry University Hall of Fame.
The Spartans will have their hands full with Lakeland Christian’s strikers – Mary Peace (35 goals, 17 assists) and Carly Knox (17 goals, 23 assists).
St. Thomas Aquinas (22-1-1) will try to add to their state-record 13 state championships this week as it takes on Wellington (23-2), a team trying to win its first state title since 2008. The winner of that semifinal slated for Friday at 5:30 p.m. will face either Oviedo or Palm Harbor University for the state title Saturday at 3 p.m.
The Raiders have found multiple sources of offense this season as Isabella Dorosy, Dallas Dorosy, Isabella Martinez and Chloe O’Neil have all scored 11 or more goals. Aquinas’ defense has been phenomenal, giving up only four goals all season. Wellington has scored 110 as a team with some balance of its own as six players have scored 12 or more.
Pines Charter (21-2-1) made its state debut last season, but fell short against Orange Park Fleming Island in the semifinal round. A completely new field awaits the Jaguars this year, starting with their semifinal opponent Venice, which is making its first appearance at state.
Should Pines Charter advance it would play either Navarre or Viera at noon Saturday for the state title.
American Heritage (19-1-2) takes on Merritt Island, the team it beat 3-0 in last year’s state championship, in the semifinals this time around at 12:30 p.m. Thursday. University of Florida signee Melanie Monteagudo, who broke the Broward single-season scoring mark as a junior with 63 goals, has 34 goals and 21 assists this season. Dejah Cason has been a big factor for Heritage scoring as well with 16 goals and 16 assists.
Defensively, the Patriots have given up only four goals this season.
In addition to what would be a third consecutive state championship, American Heritage is hoping to claim its eighth overall, which is second only to Aquinas on the state’s all-time list.
A win over Merritt Island would earn Heritage a spot in the final Friday night at 8 p.m. against either Ponte Vedra or Land O’Lakes.
IF YOU GO
What: The state girls’ soccer championships.
When: Wednesday through Saturday.
Where: Eastern Florida State College, 3865 N. Wickham Rd., Melbourne.
Admission: $9 per session; Parking: $5.
Defending state champions – Class 5A: St. Thomas Aquinas; 4A: Melbourne; 3A: Plantation American Heritage; 2A: Delray American Heritage; 1A: Orange Park St. Johns Country Day.
Wednesday’s schedule – Class 1A semifinals: Orange Park St. Johns Country Day vs. Community School of Naples, 10 a.m.; Miami Country Day vs. Lakeland Christian, 12:30; Class 2A semifinals: Jacksonville Bolles vs. Orlando Bishop Moore, 3; Tampa Berkeley Prep vs. Delray American Heritage, 5:30.
Thursday’s schedule – Class 3A semifinals: Ponte Vedra vs. Land O’Lakes, 10 a.m.; Plantation American Heritage vs. Merritt Island, 12:30; Class 1A final: 3; Class 2A final: 6.
Friday’s schedule – Class 4A semifinals: Navarre vs. Viera, 10 a.m.; Pembroke Pines Charter vs. Venice, 12:30; Class 5A semifinals: Oviedo vs. Palm Harbor University, 3; St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Wellington, 5:30; Class 3A final: 8.
Saturday’s schedule – Class 4A final: 12:05; Class 5A final: 3:05.