The Cypress Bay girls’ soccer team hasn’t lost a match this year, is ranked among the top-10 in the nation and has been a force to be reckoned with all season.
But Lightning coach Kate Dwyer still feels like the team has a chip on its shoulder.
“Nobody’s talking about us,” Dwyer said, “but that’s OK. We’ll keep it that way.”
Well, here’s something to talk about: The Cypress Bay Lightning is two wins away from its first state championship.
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For just the second time in program history and first time since 2012, Cypress Bay has made it to the state semifinals. To get there, the Lightning knocked off defending Class 5A state champion Lourdes 1-0 on Tuesday night in the Region 4-5A final at Columbus High after falling to the Bobcats in that same round each of the last three years.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Dwyer said.
And this team could be the one that finally pushes the Lightning over the top. Cypress Bay heads into its state semifinal against Vero Beach on Friday with an 18-0-1 record, the lone blemish being a 0-0 tie with Cardinal Gibbons back on Jan. 17. The Lightning, an upperclassman-heavy team with eight seniors (five committed to play in college) and 10 juniors, is ranked No. 3 in the state and No. 6 nationally by MaxPreps and has allowed just three goals all season.
“This was their year,” Dwyer said. “They knew it.”
And they took full advantage on Tuesday.
Cypress Bay was the aggressor all night against Lourdes on Tuesday. The Lightning took shot after shot after shot, forcing the Bobcats to play a defensive game for the majority of the 80 minutes.
At some point, Dwyer knew one shot was going to have to find the back of the net.
And with just six minutes left in regulation, the Lightning could finally exhale.
After Lourdes keeper Mia Alexander blocked a pair of shot attempts in a crowded box, Cypress Bay senior Daniela Tobon took a rebound chipped a shot into the lower left portion of the net in the 74th minute. Cypress Bay held on from there to secure the win.
It held Lourdes (18-2-1) to just a handful of scoring chances while playing strong on the offensive end all night. Tuesday was Lourdes’ first shutout loss of the year.
“They ended up being our biggest rival over the last couple of years,” Dwyer said. “And they’re a quality team year after year. We were excited to get out of our own backyard because we kept losing to them there. We were excited to actually play at their place and see what we could do.”
Certainly something to talk about.