The St. Thomas Aquinas girls soccer team has seen this act before — many times before.
The Raiders, ranked No. 2 in the nation in the Max Preps poll and a team that has 13 state titles in its trophy case, will shoot for No. 14 on Saturday afternoon. That after they broke up a close game with a four-goal blitz in a nine-minute span midway through the second half to throttle Wellington 5-0 in a Class 5A state semifinal at Florida Eastern State College in Melbourne.
Aquinas will look for its second consecutive title and fourth in the past five years when it takes on Oviedo, a 3-1 winner over Palm Harbor University in the other semfinal, in the 5A state championship game Saturday at 3:05 p.m.
“We came out a little flat in the first half and weren’t doing a lot of things right. Then, in the second half we got our game back together,” said Aquinas head coach Carlos Giron. “We were a little slow getting to the ball in the first half and the passes were not that crisp. It was just a matter of doing what we needed to do and eventually we figured things out.”
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The Raiders’ lone first-half goal came 15 minutes before halftime when Dallas Dorosy let go of a corner kick that Wellington keeper Jessica Hole went up for but couldn’t handle. Chloe O’Neil was there on the spot to knock it in to give the Raiders a lead they would never relinquish.
Still up by just a goal 13 minutes into the second half, St. Thomas began its four-goal flurry when Shannon Turner got open down deep and crossed a pass to the right side where Dallas’ sister Isabella Dorosy knocked it home from a severe right angle to make it 2-0.
Five minutes later came goal No. 3 when Dallas Dorosy scored off an assist from O’Neil before Sara Davis scored twice on a pair of unassisted goals in the game’s 61st and 63rd minute to complete the scoring.
“I think we were just more confident and eventually figured out a way to exploit their defense,” said Dallas Dorosy. “[Wellington] had a lot of holes, and it was just a matter of time before we started finding them and popping the goals in.”
▪ Class 4A semifinal — Pembroke Pines Charter 2, Venice 1 (2-1 PKs): After experiencing the pain of a state semifinal loss a year ago on the same field, Pembroke Pines Charter players got to “see how the other half lives.”
Jaguars players stormed the field to mob their goalkeeper Patricia Yordan and start a hugfest with each other following a dramatic penalty-kick shootout victory in a Class 4A state semifinal contest at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne.
Pines Charter (21-1-1), which suffered a 2-0 defeat to Orange Park Fleming Island in last year’s semis, moves on to the Class 4A state title game against Viera on Saturday at 12:05 p.m.
“I’m just glad and relieved we even lived to see [Saturday],’’ said Pines Charter coach Carlos Velasquez. “Hey, we’re here, we did what we had to do and I’m proud of the girls for finding a way to get it done and now we really have a great opportunity [Saturday].’’
Velasquez watched as Yordan came up huge with two saves during the shootout round, and when Venice’s best player, Emily Dalton, went high with her shot over the crossbar in the fifth round, it was over.
“Our rule is we never leave the practice field without practicing our PKs,” said Velasquez. “The last thing I told [Yordan] before she went out there was, ‘Just like practice,’ and she came through.”
Despite a strong 25- to 30-mph wind blowing in their face in the first half, the Jaguars gained the upper hand when senior forward Courtney Zaher beat the Venice defense down the right side and scored 14 minutes before halftime.
Having the upper hand with a one-goal lead and the wind in the second half, the PC defense got caught napping eight minutes into the second half when Dalton, a USF commit, beat their defenders down the left side and fired a shot that Yordan batted down but couldn’t control, and Dalton knocked in the rebound.