Berean Soccer Teams Win District Titles, Head To State Playoffs

The boys varsity soccer team from Berean Christian School celebrates winning the district tournament. Photo by Jenny Schartner

The boys and girls varsity soccer teams from Berean Christian School have been in virtual lockstep this season. Both teams had outstanding regular seasons with the boys at 9-2-3 and the girls with a program-best 14-3 record.

In their respective Class 2A, District 13 postseason tournaments, both teams advanced to their respective district finals, and both teams faced the Gators from Glades Day School — and both Berean teams defeated Glades Day by identical 2-0 scores on Thursday, Feb. 1. The only difference is that the boys needed 20 minutes of extra time to win their district title, while the girls won their match in regulation time.

The Berean girls used two second-half goals by freshman Katharina “Kat” Jochem to defeat Glades Day. Those were Jochem’s 19th and 20th goals this season. It was the second district title in the last four years for the girls team, who improved their record to 16-3.

In the boys final, the game was scoreless after 80 minutes of regulation time, which meant both teams had to play two more 10-minute sessions. Berean broke the tie with a pair of goals from Alex Silva and Ryan Chamberlin to win 2-0 in extra time. It was the third straight district title for the Berean boys soccer program.

Those two wins propelled both Berean teams into the Florida High School Athletic Association’s (FHSAA) Class 2A state playoff series.

The third-seeded girls hosted their Region 4 quarterfinal on Tuesday, Feb. 6 against sixth-seeded David Posnack Jewish Day School (9-6-3) from Davie. The Bulldogs prevailed, 2-1, thanks to goals from Jochem and Macy Ford.

Jochem’s go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal in the 59th minute of the match was filled with athletic creativity. The shot was taken from just outside the penalty box. It was struck with such velocity that Posnack’s goalkeeper couldn’t touch it.

“My teammate Sarah [Wells] had the throw-in, and she nodded for me to move in a certain direction,” Jochem recalled. “I received the throw-in, and I quickly looked up. I saw that if I cut back in, I would have room to shoot. So that’s what I did. As soon as the ball left my foot, I knew it was a goal.”

That win, which improved Berean’s record to 17-3, advanced them to a Region 4 semifinal clash against second-seeded South Florida Heat. That game will be played on Friday, Feb. 9 at Tequesta Trace Park in Weston. If the Berean girls prevail against the South Florida Heat, they will advance to the Class 2A, Region 4 final on Wednesday, Feb. 14.

The Berean boys soccer team is also seeded third in Class 2A, Region 4. Their regional quarterfinal clash on Tuesday, Feb. 6 was at home against Miami Christian (11-4). The game was close throughout, and no team ever led by more than one goal. It was tied 2-2 after regulation, and remained tied 2-2 after 20 minutes of extra time. It was decided in penalty kicks, which Berean won, 4-2. The game-winning penalty kick was struck by sophomore Reilly Ford, who is a reserve off the bench.

“He wanted to be that fifth guy in the penalty kick lineup, and he was confident he would make the kick if it came to him,” head coach Luke Schartner said. “As he walked to the spot to take the kick, I had a strong gut feeling that he would make it. Sometimes, things go your way in life. He cranked that ball into the right corner of the net. Their goalkeeper never had a chance of saving it.”

As soon as the ball hit the back of the net, Berean’s players stormed the field and erupted into celebration.

“I’m really proud of my team,” Schartner said. “It’s a close and tight-knit group of players. They will remember this moment for the rest of their lives.”

With that victory, the Berean boys (12-2-3) advanced to the regional semifinals. Berean will host the Knights from Highlands Christian Academy (16-7-1) in Pompano Beach on Friday, Feb. 9 at 3:30 p.m. If the Bulldogs prevail against Highlands, they will advance to the Class 2A, Region 4 final on Wednesday, Feb. 14.

The goal for both Berean soccer teams is to win their way to the FHSAA’s Class 2A state soccer finals, which will be held Feb. 20 and Feb. 23 at Lake Myrtle Sports Park in Auburndale.

Berean’s Samantha Roman on the attack. Photo by Andrea Daniels

TKA Girls Soccer Team Advances — The King’s Academy girls varsity soccer team is chasing an FHSAA state championship at the Class 3A level. TKA (10-4-2), seeded fourth in Class 3A, Region 3, opened its postseason schedule at home on Tuesday, Feb. 6 against St. Andrew’s School (8-4-3) from Boca Raton, the fifth seed.

In that game, the Lions prevailed, 6-0, which propelled them into a Class 3A, Region 3 semifinal against the undefeated Buccaneers from the Benjamin School (17-0) in Palm Beach Gardens. That semifinal is set for Friday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. It will be a rematch of the recent Class 3A, District 11 tournament final on Tuesday, Feb. 1, when Benjamin prevailed, 5-0. The winner of the regional semifinal will advance to the Region 3 final on Wednesday, Feb. 14. The FHSAA Class 3A state finals will be held Feb. 21 and Feb. 24 in Auburndale.