The soccer feud between Doral Academy and Ronald Reagan reached a fever pitch last week.
After three heated matches this season, Reagan took home the first piece of hardware when it claimed their district’s championship.
But on Saturday night at Traz Powell Stadium, Doral claimed the decisive victory.
The Firebirds rallied from an early deficit to secure a 3-1 victory over the Bison in a Region 4-4A semifinal.
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Senior Juan Castano led Doral (18-1-1) with a goal and an assist and helped the Firebirds advance to the regional finals for the second time in three seasons. Doral will host Fort Lauderdale, which beat Stuart Martin County 4-2 on Saturday.
The game will be played at Doral on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The Firebirds have never advanced beyond the regional final round.
"This is huge because they’ve been my rivals all four years I’ve been playing at Doral," Castano said. "It takes a lot of composure to win these games, but when you dig deep and keep a positive mentality, it’s always possible."
Reagan prevailed in last week’s District 16-4A final in a shootout after both teams had dueled to a scoreless stalemate.
As it had in its two regular season meetings (both won by Doral), Reagan (17-7-3) struck first seven minutes into the match on a goal by Joel Shand, who came in quickly and deflected a ball in just before crashing into the side of the goal.
But after senior Felipe Ospina tied the match in the 27th minute off a perfect cross from Castano, junior Christian Ramirez broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute to put Doral ahead for good.
Castano’s goal put the game out of reach with 10 minutes remaining.
"Playing from behind has actually been when this team has been at its strongest," Doral coach Pamela McDonald said. "We have a lot more talent than we did two years ago and not relying on one single scorer. That’s made us a very dangerous team."
▪ Region 4-5A Semifinal — Miami Beach 3, Columbus 1: Miami Beach coach Edgar Botto isn’t much for halftime speeches.
But with his boys soccer team trailing Columbus 1-0 at the break in Saturday afternoon’s Region 4-5A semifinal, he had to find some kind of message to deliver.
And it worked as the Hi-Tides scored a pair of goals in in the first 10 minutes of the second half and added an insurance goal with 15 seconds left to rally for a 3-1 victory over the Explorers at Columbus High School.
Beach (23-2-1) advances to its first regional final since 2008, and the Hi Tides will either host West Broward at Memorial Field on Tuesday at 7 p.m. or travel to Weston to play Cypress Bay.
“I just told them to stay with it, that we had started to play better just before halftime,” Botto said. “I told them just get me one goal, get the game tied and we’ll be fine. They did better than that, they got me two and got the lead.”
It was a brutally physical game that featured a total of 11 yellow cards, 16 stoppages for injuries, a Beach player (David Cuervo) who left the game with his right arm in a sling, and Columbus’ Danny Mayorga, who was knocked out cold midway through the second half and removed from the field on a golf cart after being revived.
“It was pretty tough game for both sides but we just had to keep pushing,” Beach forward Josue “Chino” Aguilar said. “I was feeling my legs at the end of the game, but I just had to find a way to fight through it because too much was on the line.”
After Beach (23-2-1) tied it on a a perfect give-and-go pass from Kevin Herrera to Dennis Ortega who one-touched a shot into the top right corner of the net seven minutes into the second half, it was Aguilar who came through with the go-ahead goal three minutes later.
When Tomas Iglesias took a direct kick from the severe right-hand side down near the net, he angled a perfect ball in front of the net that Aguilar dove head first and headed it past Columbus keeper Gabriel Saavedra and, just like that, Beach was up 2-1. Aguilar returned the favor with 15 seconds left when he fed Iglesias a perfect ball on a two-on-one break for the final insurance goal.
Columbus (16-8-1) stunned Beach in the game’s fourth minute when Mayorga beat Hi Tide keeper Gabriel Suarez to a loose ball in front of the net and, after the two collided, managed to get just enough on it to head it in.
“Obviously, you don’t want to spot a team like Columbus a goal in the first five minutes of the game because they defend well and usually one goal is enough for them,” Botto said. “But this is a determined bunch of kids who kept on fighting and all the credit goes to them.”
▪ Region 4-1A - La Salle 1, Gulliver 0 (PK: 4-2): Iker Sanchez-Gasser made two saves during penalty kicks to help advance La Salle (14-3-5) past Gulliver (17-2-3) and in the region final Saturday night at FIU.
Sanchez-Gasser saved the second and fourth Gulliver penalty kicks. All of the La Salle kicks went in with Matthew Bared added the fourth.
The first half was scoreless. Two Gulliver players received a yellow card in the first half. Gulliver dominated possession in the second half and led La Salle nine to two in shots on goal at the end of regulation.
La Salle will face North Broward Prep. or American Heritage (Delray Beach) in the region final.
▪ Region 4-1A Semifinal — Miami Country Day 3, Westminster Academy 0: Miami Country Day pulled away late from Westminster Academy to secure the win.
The Spartans are 2-0 over Westminster this season.
Miami Country Day played earlier in the season, the Spartans won the first match 4-2.
A late substitution brought back Pablo Gutierrez with 6 minute left in the final quarter, setup the decisive final goal to put the game away.
MORE BOYS’ SOCCER
▪ Region 4-1A Semifinals — Palmer Trinity School 3, Archimedean 2: PT (20-1-1): Devin Arango-Duenas 2 goals. Francesco Cimo assist. Nicolas Rey goal. Alberto Franceschi assist.
▪ District 14-9A Final — Miami High 51, Hialeah 41: MIA: J.Rodriguez 5, Perez 7, Scott 7, Weldon 6, Bucknor 12, Ward 3. HIA: Manhertz 4, Jones 14, Betties 9, Brown 1, Celestine 13. Assists: Scott 6. Rebounds: Bucknor 15. Three-pointers: Perez 2, Ward, Rodriguez, Betties. HT: 22-16 MIA.
▪ District 6-4A Final — Miami Country Day 76, Sagemont 26: MCD (25-1): C. Lewis 8, K. Marshall 23, M. Alvarez 14, A. Berry 12, A. Taylor 9, S. Shaw 2, J. Fishman 8. SAG: N. Lopez 2, T. Lopez 6, M. Prudent 13, L. Castillo 5. HT: MCD 51-22. Three-pointers: Lewis, Marshall 3, Alvarez 4, Fishman, T. Lopez 2. Rebounds: Berry 13. Assists: Alvarez 8. Steals: Marshall 8.
▪ District 14-5A Final — Cardinal Gibbons 57, Pine Crest 35.
▪ Dsitrict 7-4A — SLAM 46, LaSalle 41: SL: J. Brooks 16, K. Poitier 13, D. Garcia 11. LS (14-10): D. Bemaneu 9, B. Szlain 10, J. Fortuny 8. Blocks: K. Poitier 4. Rebounds: J. Brooks 9, J. Fortuny 7. Assists: A. Hundley 5.
▪ District 1-7A — Booker T. Washington 64, Jackson 50: BTW: F. Levertt 3, J. Eason 16, A. Clear 5, A. Dixon 18, V. Fleary 4, E. Jackson 5, C. Noel 5, L. Garnett 5, S. Elissaint 2. Rebounds: F. Levertt 5, J. Eason 5. Assists: A. Dixon 4.
▪ District 16-8A — Belen 64, Reagan 40: BEL(17-8): Rosell 5, Torres De Navarra 20, Bravo 7, Sueiro 8, Milton 11, Seda 2, Barnola 6, Carrillo 5. REA: Boston 4, Sweet 5, Prince 2, Dier 6, Laya 11, Lobo 5, Borgos 5. REB: Torres De Navarra 7. AST: Sueiro 7. 3 pointers: Torres De Navarra 3, Sueiro 1, Milton 1.
▪ District 15-5A — Pine Crest 87, Pace 61: AJ Haeffner 30, Brett Haeffner 26, Alex Vertus 14, Brian Anderson 11, Chris Marzouca 3. Rebounds: Haeffner 16.Assists: Marzouca 13.
▪ St. Andrews Tournament — Gulliver 16, Ransom Everglades 5: Elizabeth Perez 11 blocks, 4 assists, 2 steals. Nicole Aulicino 5 goals, 6 steals, 5 assists. Anastasia Perez-Ternent 3 goals, 2 steals. GUL 3-1
▪ St. Andrews Tournament — Gulliver 16, Suncoast 9: Rene Peralta 5 goals, 5 steals, 2 assists. Bruno Rebessi goal, 7 steals, 3 assists. Kamal Kay-Ramos 9 blocks, steal.
▪ St. Andrews Tournament — Gulliver 9, Lake Nona 8: Rene Peralta 5 goals, 3 steals, assist. Caio Jordao 2 goals, 4 steals, 3 blocks. Philip Gubbins goal, 2 steals. GUL 3-1.