South Dade is coming off a memorable season for its athletic program in several sports. Its girls’ soccer team is hoping to become the latest to win a championship.
The Bucs continued their impressive season Wednesday night by scoring twice in the first half to put away Miami Springs 3-0 in a semifinal of the GMAC tournament at Milander Park.
Alyssa Cili, Mackenzie VanHeusen and Johanna Diaz each had goals to continue South Dade’s best start to a season.
“With the team we had coming back, we expected to be strong,” South Dade coach Erin Shelow said. “This has just been great though. These kids keep fighting and playing well.”
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The Bucs (17-0), the top-ranked team in Miami-Dade County by the Miami Herald, will try to win their second GMAC title in the past three seasons Friday when they play defending tournament champion Ferguson at 7 p.m. The Falcons beat Coral Gables 2-1 in the earlier semifinal.
South Dade returned 16 players from last season’s team, and Shelow expected this to be the year that her team could make a push for a groundbreaking season.
The Bucs advanced to regionals last season for only the second time in school history but have never advanced past the quarterfinal round.
On Wednesday, South Dade struck quickly with two goals in a two minute-span late in the first half. Cili tapped the ball home with her right foot off a feed from VanHeusen, who later scored her goal off a free kick.
Diaz found the back of the net just before the second-half water break for South Dade’s third goal. The Bucs defense did the rest, keeping Miami Springs without any significant scoring chances.
Shelow credited Bania and Isa Duran and Brittany LaRosa for their stellar play in the midfield as another key to the Bucs’ success.
Goalkeeper Brittany Hoskins continued her stellar play. Hoskins has only given up four goals in 13 games this season.
“I hope this gives the team confidence down the road with the opponents they will face,” Shelow said. “Our main goal was to make a run to state. We have to keep it going.”
▪ GMAC semifinal — Ferguson 2, Coral Gables 1: Nicole Bovo’s goal in the 52nd minute broke a 1-1 tie at halftime and lifted the Falcons to the GMAC final for the second season in a row. The goal was set up by Nicole Valderutten. Michelle Moreno added a goal, and Nicole Rafols had an assist. Ferguson (13-5-1) will try to avenge two district losses to South Dade this season when it faces the Bucs in the final.