One goal is usually enough for the Lourdes soccer team.
And it was again Friday night when junior Taylor Cosio raced to a loose ball and drove a perfect strike into the Cypress Bay goal.
Lourdes denied the host Lightning any goals of its own and secured a return trip to the state final four with a 1-0 victory at Cypress Bay in the Region 4-5A final.
The Bobcats (21-2-1), a state runner-up last season, will host unbeaten Boca Raton (24-0) next Friday at a site to be determined at 7 p.m.
"It was a tough battle because Cypress Bay is a really good team," Cosio said. "I saw the goalie was on the other side of the field so I moved as quick as I could to the corner and took a shot at it."
Cosio’s score in the 31st minute of the match was her 17th goal of the season, and came off an assist by sophomore Alexa Mascaro. It was her 17th assist.
Lourdes secured back-to-back state final four appearances for the second time in school history and first time since 2006-2007. The Bobcats have reached the state semifinals six times in its history, but have yet to win a state title.
Cypress Bay (17-3-1), which coped with numerous injuries to key players the entire season, lost in the regional finals for the third time in five seasons.
"We’re really banged up and didn’t have enough depth and that hurt us at this time of year," Cypress Bay coach Katie Dwyer said. "But [Lourdes] is a quality team and they deserve that win."
Lourdes has allowed only seven goals the entire season. Four came in a loss to nationally-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas, two in a loss to four-time defending state champion Plantation American Heritage and one in a win over La Salle.
Junior Amanda Puig recorded another shutout and the Bobcats’ defenders led by freshman Francesca de Zendegui denied several chances near their goal.
"We knew exactly what we wanted to do and the team executed the game plan perfectly," Lourdes coach Ramiro Vengoechea said. "We felt like if we could put pressure on them a goal would come out of that and it came at the right time."
Aquinas, Heritage advance to state
With a combined 24 state titles between them and 43 appearances in the state final four, it was business as usual for both the St. Thomas Aquinas and Plantation American Heritage girls.
Both hosting out-of-town teams, Aquinas cruised past Stuart South Fork 4-0 in a Region 4-4A final, and Heritage had a bit more trouble, hanging on in the second half to edge North Fort Myers 4-3 in a Region 4-3A final.
Because the state changed this year’s format where only state finals will be played at a neutral site (DeLand on Feb. 15-18), state semifinals will be played on site at the schools so the Raiders (20-1-2) and Patriots (18-0), will each host a state semifinal on Friday. Aquinas will host either Estero or St. Petersburg, and Heritage will square off against an old rival, Merritt Island in the 3A semifinal.
“At this point, we’re just trying to get our game to the level that we want to be playing because once you get to this point, the competition is gets tougher,” said St. Thomas coach Carlos Giron, who is in his 35th year running the program and will make his 24th trip to the state final four. “Tonight we came out strong and did a great job of really creating shots, and if it hadn’t been for the play of their keeper, the score would’ve been a lot bigger.”
Giron referred to South Fork keeper Kaylee Magruder as the Raiders dominated all night long, playing virtually the entire game on South Fork’s end using the South Fork net as a shooting gallery.
But Magruder made numerous spectacular saves to hold the score down. But the Raiders still managed to get four shots past her, two first half goals by Florida State commit Isabella Dorosey, the team’s leading scorer with 37 goals, staking her team to a 2-0 halftime lead and two more by Julia Grosso in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
American Heritage, the four-time defending state champion, almost saw a shot at a fifth in a row go down in flames as the Patriots nearly squandered a 4-1 second-half lead before hanging on.
Two first half goals by Marlee Fray, one by Taylor Dobles and then Chyanne Dennis early in the second half gave the Patriots the comfortable lead before North Ft. Myers put on a furious rally.
“I think we might’ve gotten that big lead and maybe the girls took their foot off the pedal a little bit,” said Heritage coach Cindy Marcial, whose team will now makes its 16th final-four appearance in the past 18 years. “Thankfully, we hung on, and now we’re definitely going to have to get some things tightened up for next week because Merritt Island will be a tough matchup.”
MORE GIRLS’ SOCCER
▪ Region 4-1A Final — Palmer Trinity 2, Miami Country Day 1: Palmer Trinity staved off a furious Miami Country Day comeback attempt to advance to the state semifinals.
With six minutes left in the game, Miami Country Day’s Mary Elizabeth Allen scored to cut the deficit to one. The Spartans then went on full attack mode taking multiple shots, but they were successfully blocked by Falcons’ keeper Juliette Hamilton, who finished with 18 saves.
“It was one of the most exciting and thrilling games I ever been a part of,” Palmer Trinity coach Phil Gentles said. “I’m happy to be on the winning side of it.”
The Falcons (15-2-1) recorded their two goals in the first half, one each by Sofia Rivas and Victoria Rosales.
▪ Region 4-2A Final: West Palm Beach-Oxbridge Academy 3, Carrollton 1: Carrollton played 68 minutes of sensational soccer, but Oxbridge Academy unleashed U.S. youth national team player Allison Breed in the second half to steal a victory.
Trailing 1-0, Oxbridge scored three times late in the second half.
“It’s not the result we were looking for,” Carrollton coach Eric Vasquez said. “I thought we played with a tremendous amount of pressure in the first half. They caught us sleeping on an early goal. And No. 20 [Breed], there is a reason she’s on the national team. She creates a lot of opportunities for herself. You have to respect a player like that. She punished us twice.”
In the second half, Breed first shook Carrollton’s keeper with 12 minutes remaining. Then teammate Mackenzie Fazio put Oxbridge ahead 2-1 with a 25-yard shot a minute later. Breed put the game out of reach by connecting with 4:13 remaining.
Alexis Diaz-Silveira setup a Drew Wells’ header in the 38th minute to give the Cyclones (15-4-3) a 1-0 lead.
▪ Late Wednesday: Region 3-5A Quarterfinal — Cypress Bay 2, Everglades 1: Mateo Cuesta tied the score with four minutes left before Cypress Bay scored the winner with 50 seconds remaining. Everglades keeper Julian Carrillo had a season-high 14 saves as the Gators advanced to the regional semifinals for the first time.