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Boca Raton’s Dayana Martin, Kendra Cashion co-soccer players of year

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.”

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