On Friday, Feb. 19, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas women’s varsity soccer team took on the Boca Raton Bobcats in a Regional Semifinals matchup. With the Regional Playoffs being hosted at the Eagles home field, Cumber Stadium, the team faced off against another successful team, the Bobcats, with the support of their home fans behind them.
The Eagles momentum was very strong with a proficient run of wins in their playoff games to this point. However, the Bobcats had similar success, and they posed a difficult challenge to the Eagles.
Once the game kicked off at 7 p.m., there was a clear difference in the Bobcats compared to other teams that the Eagles faced before. When the first half began the Eagles were forced to defend and push away the challenges of Boca’s attackers. This led to an early goal off of a long shot from the Bobcats, giving them a 1-0 lead. This left the Eagles to fight for momentum.
With more desperation than in many of their other matches, the Eagles continued to send the ball forward to try and match the Bobcats’ energy.
Eventually, the Eagles made passes into the Bobcat’s half of the field and drew a foul a long distance from the goal. Defender Samantha Novik (20) stepped up to take the free kick and curled the shot into the Bobcat’s net, tying the game for the Eagles at 1-1.
The Eagles continued to press forward, having a few shots on goal before the end of the first half. However, the half ended at the same score of 1-1 with what looked like a very promising second half for the Eagles.
The second period started strong for the Eagles, but their many attempts to score were unsuccessful.
At this point, the Bobcats began to push back, which increased their chances to score against the Eagles. The Eagles fouled a player and gave the Bobcats a free-kick. They sent the kick into the Eagles penalty box, and it eventually was scored by a Bobcats player, leaving the Eagles down 2-1.
With around 20 minutes left in the game, midfielders Emily Burke (14) and Layla Segelnick (15) began to play an essential role in the Eagles attack, with more players pushing forward to get the Eagles the goal they desperately needed.
“I made lots of runs inside the box to try and get us a chance to score, I made the runs and they tried to space in the middle for a goal,” Segelnick said.
One of these chances was pushed forward to the Eagles midfielders who then sent the ball to defender Grace Keane (3). Keane was given space to shoot and scored a long distance goal to tie the game at 2-2.
After both teams failed to find the winning goal in the second half, the game went into an overtime period. Split into two halves, both parts of the overtime did not lead to a goal for either team. Tired from the first 80 minutes of regular time, neither team was able to find an advantage.
After overtime, the match went to a penalty shootout. After a few penalty kicks were taken, both teams had scored three out of their first four attempts. As both teams were on their final penalty kick, the pressure was placed on both teams to score the winning goal. If either of the teams were to miss, they would end up losing the whole match.
The Bobcats player shot first and goalkeeper Carly Brodsky made a crucial save, forcing the shot off of the goalpost and away; the Eagles now had a chance to win the game if they scored.
“I was very excited after making the save, I knew where she was going and I guessed the right way to save the shot,” Brodsky said.
Junior forward Molly Conn (12) stepped forward and blasted home her shot to give the Eagles a decisive victory.
“My mind went blank as I was walking up I couldn’t hear anyone screaming, I just focused on what I have been practicing so I could hit in the same place I have been during practice,” Conn said.
The Regional Final match will be at home against the Vero Beach Fighting Indians on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m.