Isabella Martinez scored the game-winning goal early in the second half as the Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas girls’ soccer team defeated Cypress Bay 2-1 in a Region 4-5A semifinal at Brian Piccolo Stadium.
The Raiders will play for the regional title on Saturday afternoon.
The win avenges a late-season loss to the Lightning that marked the only blemish for St. Thomas this season. The Lady Raiders (21-1-1) lost to Cypress Bay 1-0 in December.
“Our only goal [Tuesday night] was to win the game and get one step closer to a state championship,” St. Thomas coach Carlos Giron said. “There were no other motives to win this game or to have the girls play at their very best.”
Martinez, a senior forward, took a crossing pass from Dallas Dorosy in front of the goal and drove a right-footed shot in the corner of the net.
Freshman Chloe O’Neill, who scored three times in the quarterfinal win over Flanagan, opened the scoring six minutes into the game to give the Lady Raiders an early lead.
Cypress Bay (20-2) played aggressive the entire game and played most of the first half in the St. Thomas end of the field. The aggressive play led to two yellow cards being issued against the Lightning.
▪ Region 4-5A semifinal — Lourdes 4, Ferguson 0: Presenting senior striker Michelle Figarola — whose season ended with a torn meniscus in her right knee about a week ago — with a banner that read “Wouldn’t be here without you,” the Lourdes soccer team avenged last season’s elimination.
Facing the same team in the same round, Lourdes ousted Ferguson with a dominant display in a Region 4-5A semifinal at Milander Park.
The Bobcats (21-2-1) advance to the regional final and will play host to Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, the state champions three of the past four seasons, at Columbus on Friday.
“I think the girls understood that we needed to step up with the absence of Michelle. She was our leading scorer,” Lourdes coach Ramiro Vengoechea said. “You could see it [Tuesday]. We had four different scorers.”
Olivia Perez, who scored twice in Lourdes’ regional quarterfinal victory, put a header in net in the fourth minute to spark the scoring spree.
Sofia Portuondo’s goal in the 26th minute put the Bobcats firmly in front 2-0, and a pair of freshmen — Taylor Cosio and Niki Molina — scored later as Lourdes poured it on.
A season that included a title in the ultra-competitive District 16-5A and a trip to the GMAC final ended for Ferguson (16-7-1).
▪ Region 4-4A semifinal — Pines Charter 2, Miami Springs 1: Tied at 1 tie with just over five minutes left in regulation, Pembroke Pines Charter and Miami Springs appeared headed for overtime in a Region 4-4A semifinal at Traz Powell Stadium.
But a beautifully executed double-pass play by the Jaguars netted an Adriana Robles goal that gave Pines Charter a victory and second consecutive berth in the regional final.
Emely Sosa rifled a perfect through pass to Ashlyn Correa, who centered the ball perfectly for Robles. Robles found herself in a one-on-one with Springs keeper Brianna Gomez and knocked it in the top right corner of the net for the winner.
Pines Charter (20-2-1), which made its first trip to the final four a year ago, will look for its second trip in a row to Melbourne on Friday night when the Jaguars play host to Riviera Beach Suncoast at 7 p.m.
“I saw it develop and yelled, ‘Play, play, play,’ and when Ashlyn fed me a perfect pass in front I was one-on-one with the keeper and knocked it top right,” Robles said. “I wasn’t around here last year when the team went to state [Robles transferred from Archbishop McCarthy] so it would be great to get one more win Friday and get back up there.”
Pines took a 1-0 lead midway through the first half when Springs (19-4-1) was called for a foul inside the box, and Sawyer Hall knocked in the penalty kick
Springs tied the game back up just three minutes before haltime when Alyssa Deno got loose in the middle after a center pass from Sophia Gomez and knocked it past PC keeeper Patricia Yordan.
▪ Region 4-2A semifinal — American Heritage-Delray 1, North Broward Prep 0 (OT): Despite creating the majority of the scoring opportunities throughout the match, the Eagles (19-4-1) were eliminated on a close-range, bad-angle shot in the final minute of overtime.
Heritage right winger Sabrina Chung scored the golden goal after an Eagle defender was lost thr ball near the 18-yard zone. Chung collected the pass from the middle, dribbled past two defenders and blasted the shot past goalkeeper Sam Susi to stun the Eagles.
North Broward Prep had 17 scoring opportunities to the Stallions’ 13. Prep’s best chance came with 16 minutes left in regulation when Rachel Blow took a free kick and feed it to the right side to Morgan Sherman, who centered a low pass to a diving Lexi Dubrueze. Dubrueze missed the left post by inches.
“It was right there in the face of the goal,” coach Tricia Amrhein said. “We couldn’t capitalize on our opportunities, and they did on their one. With a team like this, all it takes is a mistake.
“It could have gone either way. I’m still very proud of the season we have.”
Heritage senior Courtney Thompkins was the busier of the two goalkeepers, recording eight saves.
In overtime, the Eagles had two shots on goal before Stallions (15-3-3) converted on their scoring chance to end the match.
▪ Region 4-3A — American Heritage 2, Archbishop McCarthy 1: American Heritage (17-1-2) defeated Archbishop McCarthy (19-4-2) in a regional semifinal. The Patriots dominated the play throughout the match.
Senior Melanie Monteagudo scored in the first half for Heritage off an assist from junior Dejah Cason with just a few minutes remaining.
Junior Amanda Perez provided an equalizer for the Mavericks in the second half. It was the only goal McCarthy could muster in three matches against Heritage this season.
Just a few minutes later, senior Julia Jaffe scored the winning goal for the Patriots.
American Heritage will play in the regional final on Friday night.