Coral Reef gave a glimpse last season of the potential of its young girls’ soccer team.
A dramatic comeback victory in double overtime to eliminate powerhouse Ferguson led to only the second regional playoff appearance for the Barracudas in the past six seasons.
This year, Coral Reef wants more.
And if its season-opening rout of rival Palmetto is any indication, the Barracudas might have enough to get more.
Of course there are several obstacles, including those Panthers, whom they beat 6-2 on Tuesday.
Despite losing several talented seniors, Palmetto is strong coming off a regional-semifinal advancement last season.
And there’s Lourdes.
The Bobcats are coming off a state-runner-up season and have made it to at least the state semifinals five times since 2003. Lourdes has made it to the regional round every season since that year.
They graduated 10 seniors, but have enough depth to not feel that loss too much.
Senior midfielder Natalie Silberman, junior midfielder Niki Molina and sophomore forward Victoria Muñoz accounted for a combined 50 goals and 32 assists last year.
Junior goalkeeper Amanda Puig (19 shutouts) is one of the Miami-Dade County’s best and she has two talented defenders in junior Sofia Hillman and senior Olivia Candela patrolling in front of her.
Coral Reef appears to have enough talent and experience to break through the county’s “district of death,” which again includes Ferguson and South Dade, once more and possibly as a champion this time.
Juniors Bianca Mandrini and Paige Nunez led the way last season and are at the forefront of Coral Reef’s attack once again. They are joined by junior forwards Raquel Berry and Marissa Coppola.
The defense, according to coach Deano Nuñez, is what will ultimately make the difference.
Junior Tatiana Rodriguez and senior goalkeeper Montana Ligman must have a good season for the Cudas to have a chance to win their first playoff match since 2009 and make a run at state.
Dec. 8-10: Montverde Invitational.
Dec. 9-10: Ransom Everglades Invitational.
Jan. 9-14: GMAC tournament.
Jan. 16-21: Districts.
Jan. 26: Regional quarterfinals.
Jan. 31: Regional semifinals.
Feb. 3: Regional finals.
Feb. 8-11: State final four at TBA.
2015 STATE CHAMPIONS
Class 5A: Oviedo; 4A: Viera; 3A: Plantation American Heritage; 2A: Jacksonville Bolles; 1A: St. Johns Country Day.
1. Lourdes; 2. Gulliver; 3. Coral Reef; 4. Palmetto; 5. Miami Springs; 6. Ferguson; 7. South Dade; 8. MAST; 9. TERRA; 10. Carrollton.
On the rise: Coral Gables, Reagan, Miami Country Day, Palmer Trinity, Ransom Everglades.
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS
Forwards: Emily Lamas, Palmetto, Jr.; Bianca Mandrini, Coral Reef, Jr.; Amanda Martin, Miami Country Day, Jr.; Victoria Munoz, Lourdes, So.; Amy Ransom, Coral Gables, Sr.; Sofia Rivas, Palmer Trinity, Sr.; Karina Santin, La Salle, Sr.; Monica Zabian, Gulliver, Sr. Midfielders: Emely Acobo, Archimedean, Jr.; Nicole Bovo, Ferguson, Sr.; Daniella Clavijo, MAST, Sr.; Sydney Denkert, Palmetto, Sr.; Michelle Diaz- Silveira, Carrollton, Sr.; M Niki Molina, Lourdes, Jr.; Paige Nunez, Coral Reef, Jr.; Victoria Rosales, Palmer Trinity, Sr.; Natalie Silberman, Lourdes, Sr. Defenders: Brianna Austin, Gulliver, Sr.; Katherine Inhoof, Miami Springs, Sr.; Sofia Hillman, Lourdes, Jr. Goalkeepers: Nina Fernandez, Gulliver, Sr.; Amanda Puig, Lourdes, Jr.
Others to watch
Forwards: Sofia Aviles, Terra, Sr.; Karina Bermudez, Terra, Sr.; Samantha Earle, Gulliver, Jr.; Kayla Jackson, South Dade, So.; Tatiana Mancera, Archimedean, Jr.; Samantha Wald, Miami Beach, Jr.; Midfielders: Stephanie Cuan, La Salle, So.; Sophia Gomez, Miami Springs, Sr.; Ava Hansen, Miami Country Day, Jr.; M Tiffany McBrayer, Ransom Everglades, Jr.; Sydney Sariol, Carrollton, Jr.; Amber Tam, South Dade, So.; Defenders: Erin Bakes, Ransom Everglades, Jr.; Olivia Candela, Lourdes, Sr.; Adonna Edwards, Ferguson, Sr.; Danielle Geathers, Miami Country Day, Jr.; Isabella Gonzalez, St. Brendan, So.; Nicole Maribona, La Salle, Sr.; Tatiana Rodriguez, Coral Reef, Jr.; Karla Vargas, Mater Academy, So.; Goalkeepers: Brianna Gomez, Miami Springs, Sr.; Laurel Ivory, Miami Country Day, Jr.; Savannah Ward, Ferguson, Sr.
For complete team outlooks, please visit www.miamiherald.com/sports/high-school
LOURDES (Coach Ramiro Vengoechea, 4th year, 62-6-5): Last year: 21-2-2 (State runner-up). Top players: M Natalie Silberman, Sr.; M Niki Molina, Jr.; F Victoria Munoz, So.; D Sofia Hillman, Jr.; GK Amanda Puig, Jr.; D Olivia Candela, Sr.
CORAL REEF (Coach Deano Nunez, 3rd year. 21-10-3): Last year: 11-6-1 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: M Paige Nunez, Jr.; F Bianca Mandrini, Jr.; D Tatiana Rodriguez, Jr.; GK Montana Ligman, Sr.; F Raquel Berry, Jr.; F Marissa Coppola, Jr.
PALMETTO (Coach Sam Steele, 4th year): Last year: 18-1 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: M Sydney Denkert, Sr.; F Emily Lamas, Jr.; D Bari Gold, Jr.; GK Mary Franchesci, Sr.; F Sophia Bainger, Jr.; D Audrey Paz, Jr.
FERGUSON: Top players: M Nicole Bovo, Sr.; GK Savannah Ward, Sr.; D Adonna Edwards, Sr.; Emily Arias, Ashley Acevedo.
SOUTH DADE (Coach Erin Shelow, 6th year, 71-18-7): Last year: 11-5-1. Top players: M Amber Tam, So.; F Kayla Jackson, So.; GK Adriana Arroyo, Jr.; F Bianca Carballo, Jr.; D Kiara Steele, So.; M Ashley Eichler, Jr.
CORAL GABLES (Coach Eddie Aguirre, 6th year at CG, 8th overall, 102-36-7): Last year: 16-6-2 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: F Amy Ransom, Sr.; D Kayla Ferra, Jr.; M Amy Perez, Sr.; M Brianna De La Osa, Jr.; M Kiayra Arnold, Sr.; D Cecilia Rodriguez, So.; GK Jimena Sanchez-Roselly, Jr.
SOUTH MIAMI (Coach Mario San Jorge, 20th year, 136-235-32): Last year: 9-15. Top players: F Pamala Ataya, Sr.; D Vielka Ortega, Jr.; F Adrianna Ramos, So.; M Alexandra Lopez, Sr.
VARELA (Coaches Camila Espinoza/Alexandra Paulino, 1st year): Last year: 1-10. Top players: F Daniella Correa, Fr.; M Karina Medina, Sr.; D Alexandra Luna, Sr.; D Valentina Valbuena, Sr.; M Cindy Montoya, So.; Nicole Holguin, Fr.
CORAL PARK (Coach Manny Rodriguez, 6th year at CP, 31st overall): Last year: 10-7-3. Top players: D Carolina Dominguez, Sr.; GK Natalie Diaz, Sr.; F Estrellita Torres, Sr.
BRADDOCK (Coach Jorge Server, 8th year at BR, 12th overall): Last year: 3-14-2. Top players: M Jillian Falcon, Jr.; F Nicole Caldera, Jr.; M Adrianna Hernandez, Sr.
TERRA: Last year: Regional quarterfinalist. Top players: Sofia Aviles, Sr.; Karina Bermudez, Sr.
MATER ACADEMY (Coach Luis Sanchez, 13th year at MA, 18th overall, 201-119-36): Last year: 15-7-3. Top players: D Amanda Diaz, So.; GK Madison Delucca, Fr.; M Sarah Aponte, Jr.; D Karla Vargas, So.; M Melanie Chiquillo, 8th; D Emily Tercero, Jr.
MIAMI SPRINGS (Coach William Drew, 16th year, 268-66-26): Last year: 15-5 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: D Katherine Inhoof, Sr.; GK Briana Gomez, Sr.; D-M Sophia Gomez, Sr.
GULLIVER: Last year: State semifinalist. Top players: F Monica Zabian, Sr.; GK Nina Fernandez, Sr.; D Brianna Austin, Sr.; F Samantha Earle, Sr.
CARROLLTON (Coach Eric Vasquez, 2nd year, 15-2): Last year: 15-2 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: M Michelle Diaz Silveira, Sr.; M Sydney Sariol, Jr.; M Virginia Moscetti, So.; F Drew Wells, Sr.; F Marian Alcantar, So.
LA SALLE (Coach Gamy Lozano, 3rd year at LAS, 6th overall): Last year: N/A. Top players: F Karina Santin, Sr.; M Stephanie Cuan, So.; D Nicole Maribona, Sr.; M Shayna Welsh, Sr.; D Marie Muniz, Sr.
ST. BRENDAN (Coach Adalberto Jordan, 10th year, 102-73-18): Last year: 9-8-2. Top players: F Alexa Dussaq, Sr.; D Isabella Gonzalez, So.; M Adriana Diaz, Jr.; M Jessica Botero, So.; M Elisa Hussain, Jr.; M Kristen Maestu, Sr.
MIAMI COUNTRY DAY (Coach Kyllene Carter-Weiss, 10th year, 111-79-11): Last year: 15-8 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: F Amanda Martin, Jr.; GK-M Laurel Ivory, Jr.; M-F Ava Hansen, Jr.; D Danielle Geathers, Jr.
PALMER TRINITY (Coach Philip Gentles, 4th year, 42-23-2): Last year: 12-6 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: M Victoria Rosales, Sr.; F Sofia Rivas, Sr.; F Dani Gomez, Fr.; M Georgia Malueg, 8th; D-M Paula Gutierrez, Sr.; D Maia Wenger, 8th.
ARCHIMEDEAN (Coach Olivia Osorio, 3rd year at ARCH, 6th overall): Last year: 13-6-1 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: M Emely Acobo, Jr.; F Tatiana Mancera, Jr.; M Jaylene Trujillo, So.
DIVINE SAVIOR (Coach Tyson Zarnstorff, 1st year): Last year: First-year program. Top players: F Sofia Vasquez, Sr.; D Mariantonia Gutierrez, Sr.; M Sofia Soto, So.; F Ghalia Riviere, Fr.; D Valentina Guillen, Fr.; F Isabella Spizucco, Sr.