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Lady Spartans groove to 8-0 splash

Randy Lefko
Sports Editor
Posted 2/7/24

ORANGE PARK - With a freshman and two sophomores scoring goals, the St. Johns Country Day School girls soccer machine seems to have picked up from history with a first 8-0 playoff win in their …

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Lady Spartans groove to 8-0 splash


ORANGE PARK - With a freshman and two sophomores scoring goals, the St. Johns Country Day School girls soccer machine seems to have picked up from history with a first 8-0 playoff win in their district 3-2A final against Christ's Church Academy on Thurs., Feb. 1.

St. Johns has had a history of shutouts and is 8-0 wins over the past decade in district and region playoff games with last year's loss, a 2-1 contest to Lakeland Christian, the lone goal scored against the Spartan defense in three region playoff wins at 8-0 and a state semifinal won at 8-0.
St. Johns repeated the 8-0 four-score in 2022 en route to a 2-0 Class 2A championship over Shorecrest Prep.
In 2021, the Spartans went 8-0, 9-1, 5-0 and 8-0 to the final with St. Johns winning a 6-0 title over Canterbury.
For St. Johns coach Mike Pickett, who has lamented a bit about his low scores for the 2024 regular season, he has a bit of solace in senior goalkeeper Roxy Mathews who has been near flawless in front of the net with 10 shutouts this season.
St. Johns, the top seed at 12-2-5, will host No. 8 St. Joseph Academy in the region 1-2A opener with No. 4 University Christian (10-2-2) hosting No. 5 Lafayette (12-5-0).
On the opposite end of the bracket, No. 7 Academy at the Lakes (8-6-0) travels to No. 2 Christ's Church Academy (8-5-1) while No. 3 Mount Dora Christian (14-3-0) hosts No. 6 St. John Paul II (10-4-0).
In region 1-5A, Clay High, 12-2-1, was somewhat shocked by top seed (13-5-1) Tallahassee Lincoln 4-2 in the district 2-5A final.
Lincoln got two first-half goals against the Lady Blue Devils, who got to a slow start according to coach Stephanie Waugh before surging with two second-half goals; Danica Nguyen and Madison Quang, to close the game. Clay's double-whammy forward scorers; Brooke Bunton (32 goals) and Kirra Dodson (17 goals), were held to just two shots on goal.
Clay will stay home for their region opener with county rival Orange Park, the sixth seed with a 14-2-0 record, visiting on February 13. Orange Park got beat 8-0 by Beachside in the district 3-5A final with six Beachside players scoring goals. Orange Park goalie Anna Wages repelled 15 shots on goal.
Orange Park has their own double-whammy scoring machine in sisters Ryanne (30 goals) and Rylynn Robinson (26 goals) looking to make a scoring fest out of the matchup with Bunton and Dodson at Clay.
Around the county, Fleming Island, in district 3-6A, got a hat trick from forward Sophia Portieri in a 4-2 win over Oakleaf in their opener, but went scoreless to Ponte Vedra, 3-0, in the semifinal. Ponte Vedra, ranked No.1 in the USA at 17-1-1, beat Nease 3-0 in the final. Fleming Island first-year coach Taylor Berry's efforts against the top-ranked Sharks went unrewarded with Nease getting the region slot along with Ponte Vedra.
In district 2-5A, Ridgeview got a 3-0 upset over Middleburg in their opener, but lost a 6-1 contest to Lincoln to finish at 5-6-1. Middleburg, under first-year coach Joy Rosano, finished 7-7-1.
In district 4-3A, Keystone Heights (12-6-1) got wins of 7-0 and 3-2 to advance to their final against P.K. Yonge (13-3-1), but the goal machine stalled in a 5-0 loss. Top scorer Kiersten Shaw finished with 34 goals.