A Texas transplant teamed with a standout striker to provide plenty of scoring punch for the Boca Raton girls soccer team this season.
Junior forwards Dayana Martin and Kendra Cashion combined to score 73 goals for the Class 5A state runner-up Bobcats.
Martin, a transfer from Texas, finished with 40 goals and 13 assists. Cashion, a 2016 All-Area first-team selection for Boca, contributed 33 goals and 23 assists.
The pair played a key role in leading the Bobcats to their first state-final appearance since 2010. Boca Raton finished 25-1 after falling 3-1 to perennial power Oviedo in the Class 5A state title game.
“They were definitely a huge part of our success,” Bobcats coach Rachael Grimes said of Martin and Cashion. “We had two players that can score. It took the pressure off both of them. For both of them it was a unique situation not being the only person on the team who was scoring the bulk of the goals.”
That role fell to Cashion the season before — to the tune of about 80 percent, according to Grimes. She scored a team-high 25 goals and added 12 assists for the Bobcats, who advanced to the regional semifinals while carrying just one senior.
Martin’s arrival this year helped balance the scoring load.
“Having D come on the team is amazing,” Cashion said of Martin. “It helped all of us. Up top, there were so many defenders, and it was like I was being man-marked. When D came in, it took a lot off me. As a team, it helped us a bunch.”
Martin said she and Cashion worked well together on offense.
“It’s like magic,” she said. “It’s awesome. It was really fun, because none of us ever had a forward that could keep up with us speed-wise. We just know how to connect with each other. We know what play we’re going to run, and where we’re going to put the ball. It’s awesome. It’s like having another you on the field.”
Together, Martin and Cashion helped Boca Raton achieve its season-long goal of playing for a state championship.
“At our first meeting, we were talking about our team goals, and I said, ‘states,’” Cashion said. “That was definitely our goal, but we also focused on building our team.”
Jaiya Anderson, Wellington, So., Defender: The Wolverines’ defensive anchor, she also scored six goals and added five assists.
Victoria Barreto, Olympic Heights, So., Goalkeeper: Posted 17 shutouts for the Lions and also totaled 181 saves.
Bryce Boyer, Park Vista, Sr., Forward: Scored a team-high 23 goals for the Cobras and added four assists.
Kelsey Clark, West Boca Raton, So., Forward: Led the district champion-Bulls in scoring with 20 goals and four assists.
Makali Henkel, Park Vista, Jr., Defender: Played a key role for the Cobras on defense and also added two assists.
Quinn Knapp, Boca Raton, Jr., Defender: The Bobcats’ defensive anchor, she also scored seven goals and added two assists.
Alexa Kovi, Wellington, Jr., Goalkeeper: Posted 17 shutouts for the Wolverines and allowed just eight goals.
Isabella Santini, Spanish River, Sr., Midfielder: Recorded 16 goals and six assists to lead the Sharks to the regional quarterfinals.
Gabi Santora, Boca Raton, So., Midfielder: A force in the middle for the Bobcats, she scored seven goals and added 10 assists.
Sydney Sauer, Spanish River, Jr., Midfielder: Recorded a team-high 13 assists along with three goals for the district runner-up Sharks.
Hailey Skiff, Boca Raton, Sr., Midfielder: Played a key role for the state runner-up Bobcats, finishing with nine goals and six assists.
Jaime Arrington, Spanish River, So., Defender
Amanda Benevente, West Boca Raton, Sr., Forward
Kayla Chandler, Spanish River, So., Forward
Shianne Deplatis, Palm Beach Central, Sr., Goalkeeper
Eva Giordano, Olympic Heights, Jr., Defender
Hayley Hummel, West Boca Raton, Sr., Defender
Jaclyn Kantor, Spanish River, So., Midfielder
Kira Malpica, West Boca Raton, Sr., Midfielder
Arielle Silvester, Boca Raton, So., Midfielder
Samantha Sullivan, Wellington, Jr., Midfielder
Tia Tripodi, Park Vista, Sr., Defender
Boca Raton: Chloe Tebon, Christine Sanchez, Stephanie Dodson; Forest Hill: Victoria Pomarico, Annalisa Pomarico, Justyne Nelson; Olympic Heights: Valeria Degrossi, Jaselyn Cappello, Haley Jacobowitz; Palm Beach Central: Savanna Sheehan, Jennifer Li, Maxine Fertado, Lindsey Dale; Park Vista: Caylee Fiskin, Samantha Bloom, Jade Steele; Seminole Ridge: Danielle Knabenshue, Savannah Rallo; Spanish River: Zoe Rosen, Emily Spitzberg, Peyton Young; Suncoast: Gemma Shoupp, Taylor Macmillan, Isabel Janson; West Boca Raton: Grace Loonam, Alexa O’Brien, Julia Ornstein.
Coach of the Year
Rachael Grimes, Boca Raton: Under her direction, the Bobcats finished 25-1 and advanced to the Class 5A state championship game.