BY GENE NARDI
The Palm Beach Central High School girls soccer team won its first district championship Friday, Jan. 18, defeating Wellington High School 6-1 before a capacity crowd. It was the second meeting of the season between the rival schools.
Palm Beach Central shut out Wellington 3-0 earlier in the season. The Bronco victory marked the third in a row over the Wolverines, which may illustrate a wind of change, where for the past nine years, Wellington has defeated the Broncos year after year since Palm Beach Central’s inception.
Third seed Wellington (9-7-4) defeated Seminole Ridge 8-0 in the quarterfinals and advanced to the semifinal round, where the Wolverines bested second seed Jupiter 2-1 to face the top seed Broncos (18-1) in the finals. Palm Beach Central defeated fourth seed Palm Beach Gardens 6-1 in their semifinal match.
Palm Beach Central senior Yulie Lopez tallied two scores and three assists on the night, but it was Wellington that struck first in the ninth minute, when midfielder Darby Bach launched a rocket from 30 yards out over the Palm Beach Central goalkeeper Haley Brunner. Even though Wellington pressured early on, the quick score sparked the Palm Beach Central squad. Two minutes later, Lopez sent a pass to the center just 8 yards from the net to Amber Agrillo, who placed the ball into the back of the net past Wellington keeper Lynn Sobczyk for the equalizer.
Palm Beach Central’s Andrea Delgado scored off another pass from Lopez to give the Broncos the 2-1 lead. Lopez finally reached pay dirt when she beat the Wellington defense on the right side and sent a low ball under Sobczyk from only a few yards out to extend the Bronco lead to 3-1 in the 25th minute. Palm Beach Central’s Amanda Torres scored from 8 yards out from a Lopez pass just before the end of the half to close out with the score 4-1.
Wellington fought back, pressuring high over the top on accession, but had difficulty maintaining possession in midfield. Lopez struck again in the 54th minute for the 5-1 advantage. Delgado created magic on the final goal, being forced outside, launched a shot from the near corner 25 yards out, hitting just inside the far post to close out the contest 6-1 and take the District 9-5A championship title.
Both teams advanced to the regional tournament. On Wednesday, Wellington traveled to play Boca Raton, while Palm Beach Central hosted West Boca Raton. Results were not available at presstime.
Above: The Lady Broncos celebrate winning the district championship.