Heading into Tuesday night’s Class 6A-Region 1 Quarterfinal, Buchholz coach Bryan Hantak knew that visiting Niceville was fast.
That was evidenced when the Eagles scored its only goal less than 40 seconds after a Buchholz goal.
The Lady Bobcats matched that intensity, kept Niceville off the scoreboard in the second half, and edged the visiting Eagles, 2-1, to advance to Friday’s regional semifinals.
“Defense was outstanding,” Hantak said. “We made a couple of adjustments at halftime. They listened to what we had to say, they adjusted, and played extremely well.”
Buchholz (15-3-2) struck first on a goal by junior Kelisha Andre for a 1-0 lead just over 14 minutes into the match.
However, Niceville’s Marie Reid tied it at 1-1 with a goal just 36 seconds later.
“They’re a quality team,” Hantak said. “That’s probably the best team we’ve played all year.”
However, sophomore goalkeeper Mimi Fisher didn’t allow another goal and finished with 12 saves.
“Mimi’s our wall,” Hantak said. “She’s been our wall all year long.”
One of her biggest saves came eight minutes into the second half when Niceville’s Audrey Moore outraced the defense and attempted a one-on-one shot just outside the 18-yard box.
“I hated it,” Fisher said. “But honestly it’s luck and chance when it comes to those. I can only try my best to close down the angle and from there it’s honestly mental. It’s mental for me and it’s mental for the player shooting. I know as a keeper I’m scared to see them run down and I’m sure they’re scared to see me come out.”
Meanwhile, sophomore Zoe Torres scored the decisive goal on a penalty kick with less than two minutes to play in the first half for a 2-1 lead at the break.
“Honestly, it feels kind of a relief because we knew this was going to be a pretty even match,” Torres said. “The team played really well. We really wanted it.”
Buchholz, the No 2 seed in the region, will host No. 3 Fletcher (Neptune Beach), which beat No. 6 seed Navarre, 3-0, on the road. The match will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday.
P.K. Yonge 4, Florida High (Tallahassee) 1
In the Class 3A-Region 1 Quarterfinal at P.K. Yonge, the top seeded Lady Blue Wave advanced with a 4-1 win against Florida High (Tallahassee) (10-4-4).
Freshman Faith Hardy had a hat trick with three goals, and senior Karuna Leslie scored one to send P.K. Yonge (13-1-2) to Friday’s regional semifinal.
“The key to our victory tonight was the players’ willingness to adjust and improve as the game went along,” said P.K. Yonge coach Rebecca Schackow. “Florida State is a tough and talented team. We had our work cut out for us.”
Neither team scored in the first half, but that’s when the Lady Blue Wave’s top scorer took over.
“Once we figured out how to link up passing and runs, we found great success,” Schackow said. “That success ignited something in Faith, who went on to score three powerful goals. A job well done by the entire team. I am so happy for and proud of my players.”
P.K. Yonge will host the winner of the North Bay Haven Academy/Wolfson game at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Bishop Kenny ended Santa Fe’s season in Class 4A. The Raiders (9-6-1) lost 2-0 in Jacksonville.
In the Class 2A-Region 1 quarterfinals, Trenton’s season ended with a 5-1 loss at Lafayette (Mayo), while St. Francis Catholic Academy (Gainesville) was shut out at top seed St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park), 8-0.