Of the many high school varsity soccer teams in the western communities, the Seminole Ridge High School girls varsity soccer team had the most successful regular season and deepest run in the postseason.
The Hawks were undefeated in the regular season, won their first district title and played in a regional final for the first time in school history.
After defeating Martin County High School, 2-0, and William T. Dwyer High School, 2-0, in the Class 6A, Region 2 quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, they earned a trip to the regional final, making them one win away from reaching the Class 6A state final four.
On Tuesday, Feb. 14, the Hawks traveled north to play the Lions of Oviedo High School. On that Valentine’s Day clash, Oviedo broke the hearts of Seminole Ridge and prevailed 2-0. It was the first loss of the season for Seminole Ridge, which concluded its finest season in program history with a record of 18-1-2.
Looking forward to next year, 10 out of Seminole Ridge’s 11 starters will return, which bodes well for the future.
“This season was the culmination of hard work and having great team chemistry,” Seminole Ridge head coach Felipe Tribin said. “Were we expecting to go undefeated up until the regional final? Not exactly, but we did meet two of our team goals, which were to win the district championship and to make a run at regionals. Our three seniors — Olivia Smith, Lucy Single and Brianna Ferrara — did an excellent job leading this team. They have been here since my first year, so they have seen how the program has changed. They knew exactly what I expected from them this year, and I am very happy that they are graduating with a district championship and a historic season.”
The other local girls high school soccer teams that played regional games in February included Wellington High School (Class 7A), the King’s Academy (Class 3A), Glades Day School (Class 2A) and Berean Christian School (Class 2A).
Wellington reached the Class 7A, Region 3 semifinals, where the Wolverines lost 2-1 to Treasure Coast High School on Friday, Feb. 10. Wellington finished with a record of 10-4-2.
Also on Friday, Feb. 10, TKA traveled to Palm Beach Gardens to play the Benjamin School in the Class 3A, Region 3 semifinal. The host Buccaneers soundly defeated TKA, 5-0. The King’s Academy finished the season with a record of 10-6-1.
Glades Day School, led by Wellington resident Hana Lohmann, had another memorable season, as they won their second-straight district title and advanced to the Class 2A, Region 4 semifinals, eventually losing to True North Classical Academy, 6-1. The Gators’ (17-6-1) one goal in the season-ending loss was scored by Lohmann, who registered her 65th goal of the season and the 209th and final goal of her storied high school soccer-playing career for Glades Day School, where she started playing as a sixth grader.
On Tuesday, Feb. 7, Berean traveled to Weston to play the South Florida Heat (16-6-2), the top seed in Class 2A, Region 4. In that regional quarterfinal, the Heat blanked the Bulldogs, 8-0, which ended Berean’s season with a record of 11-8.
In the FHSAA’s boys bracket for Class 7A, three schools in the western communities landed spots in the same Region 3 bracket: Royal Palm Beach High School, Palm Beach Central High School and Wellington High School.
In the Region 3 quarterfinals on Wednesday, Feb. 8, Royal Palm Beach High School (14-5-4) lost to Boca Raton High School, 2-0, and Palm Beach Central High School (10-4-3) fell to Spanish River High School, 2-0. But Wellington High School survived its regional quarterfinal by outscoring Olympic Heights High School, 3-1.
That win propelled the Wolverines into a Region 3 semifinal clash against the top-seeded team, Boca Raton High School.
That game was played on the evening of Saturday, Feb. 11 in Boca Raton. After 80 minutes of regulation play, the game was tied, 1-1. After 20 minutes of extra time, the game remained tied, 1-1. That sent the game to penalty kicks. After five penalty kicks by both teams, Boca Raton made four, while Wellington only made three. With that loss on penalty kicks, Wellington’s final record was 10-6-2.
WHS head coach Chris Carrera was proud of his team’s effort and determination in that heartbreaking loss in Boca Raton. “We tied the game, 1-1, with a goal by junior Antonio Rubino, just before the second half water break,” Carrera said. “For the rest of the game, we had a couple of chances to score a goal, but the shots either went wide of the net, or their goalkeeper made a great save. In extra time, we were on the verge of scoring, and we had their backs against the wall, but we couldn’t get the ball into the net. It’s tough losing on penalty kicks. I asked my players for 100 percent, and they gave me 110 percent. That’s all I can ask.”
In Class 2A, Region 3, Berean’s boys soccer team, which won the District 13 championship for the second-straight year and the fifth time in program history, upset Riviera Prep, 3-2, in the quarterfinal on Wednesday, Feb. 8. Then, on Saturday, Feb. 11, the Bulldogs traveled south to Miami-Dade County and lost their regional semifinal to Miami’s Archbishop Carroll, 3-0. With that loss, the Bulldogs completed their season with an 11-6-2 record.
Berean head soccer coach Luke Schartner, who finished his 17th year leading the boys soccer program, enjoyed guiding and teaching his players this past season.
“I count it as a major blessing to be able to coach such a great group of young men,” he said. “Their success this season was a result of their work ethic, character, coachability and unity. This will definitely go down as one of my favorite teams to coach, and I will definitely miss them.”
According to Schartner, his 2023-24 team should have six returning starters from this year, as well as lots of young talent from this year’s junior varsity team.