After last year’s shocking exit in the regional finals, St. Thomas Aquinas girls soccer coach Carlos Giron did not expect focus to be an issue this postseason.
Dallas Dorosy scored a hat trick and the Raiders trounced Flanagan 8-0 in the 5A regional quarterfinals Thursday at St. Thomas.
The Raiders, making their state-record 30th consecutive playoff appearance, improved to 16-3-2 and will play host to Cypress Bay in the regional semifinals.
Flanagan, which ends its season at 15-3-1, faced a daunting task against a Raiders team seeking its 13th state title and third in the last three seasons. Last year’s regional final loss to Palm Beach Central was the last time St. Thomas lost to a team from Florida. The Raiders’ three losses came against Texas teams during a December tournament.
St. Thomas got its opening goal from freshman Isabella Dorosy, who headed in a cross from Sydney Talbot nine minutes in. The floodgates opened during a four-minute span midway through the first half when St. Thomas scored four goals to build the lead to 5-0. The Raiders outshot the Falcons 22-0 in the contest.
“We were a little sloppy in districts so we wanted to come out, show our composure, control the ball and finish our chances,” Giron said. “I think we did that very well.”
Only several spectacular saves from Flanagan goalkeeper Kuzi Chiweshe kept the Raiders at bay early in the second half. Dallas Dorosy finally broke through with a pair of goals to get her hat trick and make it 7-0. Paige Andrews ended the contest in style with a 20-yard rocket that curled into the top corner.
“We came out prepared and played well. I think we realized that this could be our last game,” Dallas Dorosy said. “If we keep playing like this, I think we have a good chance to go all the way.”Region 3-5A Quarterfinal:
Nonetheless, the Eagles (18-2-2) scored the only goal they would need just five minutes into the game to hold off visiting Lake Worth Park Vista, 1-0, in Thursday’s first round of the FHSAA Class 5A regional playoffs.
Douglas had beaten the Cobras by an identical 1-0 score just 17 days earlier.
“It’s frustrating not getting that second goal,” said Douglas coach Stu Katz, whose team will face the Boca Raton Spanish River-West Boca Raton winner in Tuesday’s round of 16. “If we’re going to go far, we need to convert on the scoring opportunities that we get. We had the result we wanted tonight, but it wasn’t comfortable.”
The Eagles set the tone early, scoring in the fifth minute on forward Kelly Field’s eighth goal of the season on a header off an assist from Gillian Morrison’s throw-in from the right side.
Douglas had plenty of chances to put away the Cobras (14-7-1), outshooting the visitors by a 17-3 margain. Winning goalkeeper Sarah Fine was rarely challenged, thanks to the play of the defenders in front of her (Morrison, Serena Delgado, Rebecca Foley and Emma Jacobs), which helped the Eagles record their 15th shutout of the season.
“The defense was like a wall back there,” Eagles senior midfielder Monica Rojas said. “They were connecting well with the passes [to the midfield] and were vocal, and we had too much speed up front.”
Offensively Douglas had ample opportunities to put the match away, but four of the shots on goal hit the post or crossbar.
The match was a homecoming of sort for Park Vista coach Stacy Dent-Iaciofano, who as a senior was part of the ’94 Douglas team making its first trip to the state finals. The Eagles went on to make six straight state appearances, winning five titles (four under coach Laura Rountree, who was in attendance).
“Being here was bittersweet and getting to hug [Rountree],” Dent-Iaciofano said. “but I’m still leaving disappointing, knowing we didn’t play our best, and of course, I wish Douglas well now.”Region 4-4A Quarterfinal:
Locked in a 1-1 tie, the upset-minded Bulldogs (14-7-0) came out in the second half poised and ready to win their first-ever regional playoff game. But the Golden Hawks (20-2-1) had other ideas as Springs scored three goals in the first 10 minutes to blow the game open and coasted to a 4-1 victory at Traz Powell Stadium.
“Our girls might’ve actually been a little too excited at halftime,” said South Broward head coach Joseph Guimmule. “I had to settle them down and tell them they still had to go out there and play good soccer in the second half as well if we wanted to come out of here a winner. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. Springs came out and seemingly won every single loose ball and before we knew it, we were down three goals and playing uphill from there.”
Guimmule watched as his team fell behind 1-0 in the game’s sixth minute only to fight back in the 15th minute. That’s when Kylie Braeseke and her sister Kaycee executed a perfect corner kick, Kylie taking it and Kaycee heading it into the top right corner of the net to tie the game as the Bulldogs battled Springs even the rest of the first half.
“We just couldn’t sustain that momentum,” said Guimmule. “It was a nice season but to be honest it’s a little frustrating to not be able to get past this game for the third straight year. We’ll have to keep working.”