Dash to DeLand ends with statewide eminence established

By Official Florida FC

The Florida high school soccer season ended with a coronation on Friday night when St. Johns Bartram Trail beat Boca Raton in the Class 7A girls soccer final.

There have been some exceptional public school sides in the 41 years since Florida awarded girls soccer championships – the Satellite teams with two-time World Cup winner Ashlyn Harris in the early 2000s, the Stoneman Douglas team that won five straight titles and Spanish River’s five-year run in the mid-90s come to mind. St. Johns Bartram Trail enters the conversation with its third title in four years.

In the preview, we noted there were few surprises among this year’s finalists. That was backed up by the games themselves. Every school that lifted a state championship trophy won at least their third title in program history.

Here is a rundown of how the dash to DeLand concluded.

Class 7A: St. Johns Bartram Trail 3, Boca Raton 0

Bartram Trail capped off its unbeaten season with a 3-0 win in the Class 7A final.

Olivia Bori, Sophia Magdalein and Reese Henley scored the Bears’ goals.

The Bears (21-0-2) dominated from nearly the opening kick. Boca Raton (20-4) junior goalie Kelly White made 11 saves, including a series of stellar stops in the first half to keep Bartram at bay.

Bartram Trail outscored opponents 102-7 this year. Their schedule included victories over the Class 6A champion, 4A champion, 2A champion, as well as draws against the Class 3A champion and Class 2A runner-up.

“I feel like the seniors were extra motivated because of the disappointment from last year,” Bartram Trail head coach Jen Rodriguez said afterward. “I know some of them wrote down their feelings and how it felt when we lost. They have used that to drive themselves personally and then gather us as a team, because they embody that. It takes everybody to get to where we were.”

Bartram’s senior class finished 79-4-5 over their varsity careers.

Class 6A: Gulf Breeze 4, Miami Lourdes 1

Ava Matherne scored a hat trick in her final varsity game to power the Dolphins to their first state championship in 22 years.

Gulf Breeze (20-2-1) needed late goals and comebacks in its regional final and state semifinal win. But, not in Friday’s final. Matherne scored her hat trick in the first half to ensure the nerves of finals past remained there.

Ellie Pavey added the fourth in the 57th minute to seal the victory.

For Lourdes (18-2-2), it was another difficult trip to DeLand. The Bobcats have made a state final in five of the last six years, but only won the shinier trophy in 2020.

Lourdes had a chance to get back into this year’s final with 20 minutes to go, but its penalty kick hit the post and bounced away.

Class 5A: Plantation American Heritage 0, Cape Coral Mariner 0 (4-2 PKs)

American Heritage won its 12th state championship in school history, and first since 2019, after dethroning the 2022 state champion.

Nyema Freeman, Courtney Caruso, Amanda Caines and Samantha Villaverde converted from the spot to give the Patriots the title.

Mariner did not go away quietly. The Tritons played the last 35 minutes with 10 players and still did not concede.

For American Heritage, the victory capped off a season that began 2-1-2. The Patriots outscored opponents 70-5 over their final 17 matches of the season.

Class 4A: Orlando Bishop Moore 1, Delray Beach American Heritage 0

Bishop Moore (20-2-3) repeated as Class 4A state champions. Amelia Millier, once again, scored the opening goal for the Hornets.

Unlike the 2022 game, the Hornets didn’t have to climb out of an early deficit.

Miller’s 14th goal in the season came in the 38th minute. Her first for Bishop Moore in the 2022 final was an 18th minute equalizer.

The Hornets held American Heritage (14-2-1) without a shot on goal in the second half to record their 19th clean sheet of the season.

Wednesday’s game was the seventh time in state history two girls soccer programs met in the state final in consecutive years. Only St. Johns Bartram Trail (2020 and 2021) and Satellite (2002 and 2003) won both matchups.

Bishop Moore’s consecutive titles gives them seven in program history, fifth-best in state history.

Class 3A: Montverde Academy 6, Fort Lauderdale University School 0

The Eagles (15-2-2) marked their return to FHSAA soccer with an emphatic win in the Class 3A state final.

Junior Estefania Gonzalez scored a hat trick (29th, 38th 45th). Antonella Daffaut, Pahris Cotterell and Maria Silva Mendes also scored for Montverde.

Montverde has won FHSAA state championships in each of the last three years it has competed in the postseason. The Eagles also won state titles in 2018 and 2019.

The loss marked the first time in 29 games the Sharks (15-4-3) conceded six or more goals.

Class 2A: Lakeland Christian 2, St. Johns Country Day 1

Lakeland Christian won its third consecutive FHSAA girls soccer championship with a pair of late goals. The Vikings (21-2-2) overcame longtime playoff nemesis St. Johns Country Day.

Lily Harrington, one of the Vikings’ 13 seniors, scored in the 71st and 73rd minutes to shock the state.

St. Johns midfielder Cecilia Nowicki scored a consolation goal with less than a minute remaining. But, the Spartans could not find an equalizer as they fought for a 12th straight state championship.

Prior to Wednesday’s final, Clayton Freeman at the Florida Times-Union reported the Spartans eliminated Lakeland Christian in either the state semifinals or final in seven of the previous 14 seasons.