MSD women’s varsity soccer wins against South Dade Senior High School but fails to beat Cypress Bay High School in Regional Semifinals


Quinn Braun

Midfielder Kendall Slack (18) drives the ball forward. Slack contributed a goal to the Lady Eagles’ 6-0 win over South Dade Senior High School.

After earning a fourth straight district championship, the MSD women’s varsity soccer team entered a stage that had proven to be a difficult challenge in previous seasons. The Lady Eagles lost in the regional finals just one season prior, hoping to finally reach the state playoffs after many years of falling short.

On Tuesday, Feb. 8, the team was tasked with facing South Dade High School. Knowing the wealth of talent held by teams who reach the regional playoff level, the Lady Eagles prepared for a challenge.

Immediately after the 6 p.m kickoff, both teams fought for the ball in various parts of the field, neither being able to establish possession of the ball. Defenses held strong, as the match seemed to follow a pattern of tightly contested games for the Lady Eagles.

However, near the end of the first half, the Eagles were pressing higher up the pitch and created a solid chance. Their first shot of the game turned into a goal, with forward Addison Krajczewski (25) scoring a powerful shot.

Another chance from forward Gianna Rizzo (9) allowed the Lady Eagles to double their lead, swinging momentum in the favor of MSD before the whistle blew to signify the end of the first half.

Although South Dade’s defending had been strong, they were unable to prevent any of the attacks created by the Lady Eagles. The MSD defense had a much better game, keeping the Buccaneer attackers quiet and regaining possession on many occasions.

Midfielder Kendall Slack (18) added a goal of her own off of a corner kick, with defender Samantha Novak (20) scoring a long-distance shot almost immediately after. With only 15 minutes left, MSD was cruising towards victory and continued to press forward with the ball.

“I felt like I successfully anticipated going up towards [the] goal, pushing up and encouraging my team to get up more,” Slack said.

After additional goals from forward Molly Conn (12) and defender Sahai Simmonds (22), the Eagles’ lead grew to 6-0, which would end up being the final score of the match.

“The team communicated well today,” midfielder Morgan Goldman (13) said. “We really worked well as a team and we were communicating well and our passes were on point today.”

The Lady Eagles advanced to the Regional Semifinals in a commanding fashion, hoping this positive momentum would push into their next match.

“We need to work on finishing our shots because we had a lot of opportunities that we missed out on,” Goldman said.

For the second year running, the Lady Eagles would play against the Cypress Bay high School Lightning in the Regional Playoffs. Hoping to avenge their 2-1 defeat from last season, MSD prepared for what would be their most challenging game of the season.

On Friday, Feb. 11, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School women’s varsity soccer team played their Regional Semifinals game against Cypress Bay.

The kickoff was at 5 p.m, and both teams immediately fought aggressively for the ball. The Lady Eagles’ most prominent tactic for defense throughout the first half was doing their best to keep the ball on their side of the field, which Alexis Regiel (23) performed excessively throughout the first quarter.

“I felt that within the first quarter, we were definitely shaken up, but the defense and I worked our hardest to not have any more unwanted goals,” Regiel said.

Tension rose as forward Molly Conn (12) attacked the ball by making long shots across the field multiple times, following the ball and trying to lead the Cypress Lightning away from their goal. Unfortunately, the Eagles weren’t fast enough to block their goal and get the ball, leaving Cypress to score one point.

With only 17 minutes left in the first half, the Eagles were determined to make a goal. Long shots down the field seemed to be the only option for the team to make an offensive advancement in the game; however, the Cypress’s goalie kept blocking their attempts. The Eagles ended the first half with the Eagles down 0-3.

Going into the second half, the Eagles gained momentum and were motivated to bounce back from their failed offensive charges. Midfielder Skylar Lund (19) kicked the ball towards the Lightning side of the field, trying to set up the offense for a score, but they stopped the play from generating any momentum.

Midfielder Kendall Slack (18) and Lund juggled back and forth with the ball down the field, determined to score a goal. Having Lund and Slack set up an opportunity for her to score, Regiel took a long shot down the right side of the field and kicked it towards the goal. This goal attempt was thwarted by the opposing goalie and kicked back into the middle of the field.

“I was given few opportunities to fly the ball towards the middle of the field in hopes for one of our attacking forwards to place the ball in the goal,” Regiel said.

As Slack and a Lightning defender both went up for a header towards the ball, they collided in a headbutt. This left Slack bleeding and out for the rest of the game.

After the Lightning failed on an effort for a goal, MSD goalie Ella Stevens (21) grabbed the ball and threw it up in the air, forcefully kicking it up into the middle of the field. Cypress intercepted Steven’s clear and kicked it into MSD’s net, gaining a point to make the score 0-4.

As Cypress made efforts to score another goal for the Eagles, Conn used her impressive defensive skills to steal the ball from Cypress and lead it up the field in a pass to Krajczewski, who tried to to score. However, it was a quick turn around for Cypress as they stole the ball from Krajczeski, leading it down the field to score another goal, making the score 0-5.

With the ball in the middle, Goldman kicked the ball to Conn, and they went back and forth up the field trying to score. Center/defender Lizzie Sheehy (4) received the ball and was pressed by a Cypress Bay defender, eventually conceding an own-goal to make the score 0-6.

Sheehy passed the ball to Lund, who then passed the ball to center defender Samantha Novik (20) who kicked the ball up in the air, making a long shot towards the net. Cypress’s goalie caught Novik’s kick mid-air, stopping one of the Eagles’ last attempts to score.

“In the moment, I just wanted to give my team the best attempt at scoring a goal, and to change the mentality of the game,” Novik said.

Right at the end of the quarter, outside back/forward Sahai Simmonds (22) kicked the ball up in the air from the middle of the field, making a similar attempt as Novik to score. However, the ball landed in the hands of the goalie once again, leaving the Eagles with a devastating end to their season.

The Lady Eagles desperately wanted this win, especially against Cypress, which was the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season. Unfortunately, history once again repeated itself as the Lady Eagles went on to lose this game and to conclude their season. The Eagles look forward to playing next season, and coming back better than ever.