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Girls District Soccer

Tamares goal knocks champs out

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 2/2/23

NEPTUNE BEACH - Fleming Island High girls soccer got a sterling goalie performance from a new face and a single shot on goal by senior Katy Tamares was enough to withstand a second half blitzkrieg by …

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Girls District Soccer

Tamares goal knocks champs out


NEPTUNE BEACH - Fleming Island High girls soccer got a sterling goalie performance from a new face and a single shot on goal by senior Katy Tamares was enough to withstand a second half blitzkrieg by defending Class 6A champion Fletcher High as the Golden Eagles snuck away with a 1-0 district 3-6A semifinal win Friday night on a cold, blustery night in Atlantic Beach.

"Macy Opp, our regular goalie, was out sick and should return for the Tuesday district final, but I honestly had no idea about what to do in our goal," said Fleming Island coach Joy Rosano. "Jenna Moreland stepped up and played the game of her life for us."

The win, the second of two semifinals hosted by Fletcher, puts the third seed Golden Eagles, coached by Joy Rosano, back into the district championship game against top seed Ponte Vedra High, a 2-0 winner over Nease in the early game.

Ironically, last year, Fletcher, coached by former Middleburg High coach Brad Plummer, took the Golden Eagles to a 0-0 overtime and penalty kick loss in the same district semifinal before losing to Ponte Vedra 2-1 in the district final only to advance and eventually win the state title with the aid of a 2-1 region semifinal win by Fleming Island over Ponte Vedra.

Along Fletcher's path, Fleming Island was awarded a region playoff points bid and lost a second time 2-1 to Fletcher in the region final.

"This whole district has become just a bunch of big rivalry games because the teams are all strong," said Rosano. "Ponte Vedra took it to us a few weeks ago on the coldest night of the year."

Fleming Island, who had beaten Fletcher just a week prior 3-0 in regular season play with three goals from Gianna Gardner, could not get the breakaway shot opportunities that put Gardner downfield for two first half goals last week as the Fletcher defense had Gardner surrounded by defenders all night.

"They were doubling up on Gianna and if Ponte Vedra was watching, we will have our work cut out for us," said Rosano, who lost to Ponte Vedra early in the season 4-0 on the coldest night of the season thus far. "We knew they would try to jam the ball down out throats in the second half. They did it against us in the last game."

For the better part of the first half, it was Fleming Island's defense of sophomore goalie Jenna Moreland that provided the theatrics of the night with numerous outstanding stops of Fletcher bombs to the goal. Moreland volunteered for duty with regular goalie Macy Opp out with an illness.

In front of Moreland, where Rosano had a crowded goalie box with Kennedy Johnson, Natalie Ramdas and Emerson Rucker providing incoming cover for Moreland, normally an infield defender, the Golden Eagles, in the first half, were slowing down the fast-striking attacks of Fletchers' speed with Tamares goal coming at 11:36 after the first half water break off a feed from Rucker between two Fletcher defenders just above the goalie box.

"I don't think their goalie ever saw it because Katy was shielded behind two defenders," said Rosano. "It didn't have a whole lot of steam on it."

Rosano's offensive answer was forward Kaitlyn Scherer in the middle of the field with freshman forward Rylie Gardner contending to slow down the much-bigger Fletcher front line.

From the half, Fletcher was determined to test Moreland with rifle shots the rest of the contest with two fingertip deflections by Moreland creating gasp to her teammates and one particular scrum off a corner kick that forward Kaitlyn Scherer cleared amongst a crowd of Lady Senators.

Fletcher best shot of a one-on-one blast toward Moreland was whiffed by Fletcher power forward Sawyer Reynolds dead center about 18 yards in front of Moreland.

Around the county, top seed Orange Park (14-2), with lead scorer Ryanne Robinson hitting 31 goals for the season, won a 5-0 semifinal against Englewood in district 3-5A to advance to the championship game on Tues., Jan. 31 against Pedro Menendez. Robinson scored three goals. Menendez (6-8-0) beat Parker 12-0 and St. Augustine 3-2 to get to the final.

Clay High's (10-4) fast start with seven straight wins, ended abruptly with a 3-0 gap that ended with the Lady Blue Devils' season ending 3-2 to Columbia (14-4). Sophomore Kirra Dodson led the Blue Devil scoring with an astounding 33 goals for the season and Erkia Martinez, a junior, adding 11.

In the same district 2-5A slate, Ridgeview (4-8-4) won a 2-1 quarterfinal over Rickards before losing to top seed Lincoln (11-2-2) 2-0.

In district 4-3A, Keystone Heights mega scorer Kiersten Shaw got to her 68th goal with five in the net in the Lady Indians 11-0 win over Newberry in their quarterfinal. Junior Ella Hutchins added four goals also.

Keystone Heights (18-4) will face Williston (8-6-1), a 3-1 winner over Fort White to advance. P.K. Yonge (10-4), the top seed, faces Trinity Catholic (4-11-1) in the other semifinal.

In district 3-2A, St. Johns Country Day School (14-1-1, ranked No. 2 in Florida All classes, No. 1 in Class 2A) begins their epic defense of 11 straight state titles with a semifinal opener against fourth seed St. Joseph Academy (7-6-2) on Tues., Jan. 31.

No. 2 seed University Christian (15-1, ranked 25th in Class 2A) plays third seed Christ's Church Academy (6-9-1) in the other semifinal.