- Jodie Wagner Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Jupiter and Vero Beach renewed their girls soccer rivalry Friday night, this time with a Class 5A regional finals berth on the line.
In the fourth meeting between the teams this season, the Indians emerged with a 1-0 win in a regional semifinals matchup at Velocity Community Credit Union Stadium.
Kate Hassell scored on a free kick with 4:33 remaining to lift Vero Beach to the win. The Indians improved to 16-4-1, while the Warriors finished their season 16-5.
Vero Beach advances to play Boca Raton on Tuesday night for a berth in Friday’s state semifinals.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Jupiter coach Tim Shea said of his team, which had the edge offensively but could not punch the ball in Friday night. “They played really hard. They were exhausted when they came off the field. But we had a good season.”
The game started as a defensive battle, with neither team able to get much push up front.
Jupiter had its first solid scoring chance in the 14th minute, but Brielle Pearce’s hard shot was stopped by Vero Beach goalie Mallory Padgett.
The Warriors had several other good scoring opportunities in the first half, and nearly scored on a close-range shot by freshman Isabella Benavente in the 30th minute.
But Padgett came up with another big save to maintain the scoreless tie.
Jupiter closed the first half with a flurry, but was unable to find the back of the net.
“In the first half, we had three good chances to score, and we didn’t take advantage of that,” Shea said.
The Warriors kept up the pressure to start the second half, moving regularly into Vero Beach’s half of the field.
Jupiter missed on a couple of shots, including a wide-open attempt at the top of the goal box that sailed over the goal in the 53rd minute.
Vero Beach couldn’t match the Warriors in shots, but the Indians were more active on offense midway through the second half, and tested Jupiter goalie Julia Cain.
The Indians had a good chance to score with 10 minutes remaining, but Emma Romans’ header off a corner kick sailed just over the crossbar.
Vero didn’t miss its next opportunity.
Following a hand ball, the Indians had a free-kick opportunity with just minutes remaining, and converted. Hassell’s shot flew over the outstretched arms of Cain, giving Vero Beach the only goal it would need.
Oxbridge Academy 2, Fort Lauderdale-Cardinal Gibbons 0: Carly Sanders and Allison Breed each scored a goal and Merissa Chu earned the shutout as the ThunderWolves defeated the Chiefs in a Class 2A regional semifinal in West Palm Beach.