Sierra Lloyd, No. 12 of the Choctawhatchee Indians, battles for the ball against No. 22, Madison Kelly, of the West Florida High Jaguars during their game Wednesday evening at Washington High.
A flurry of failed offensive shot attempts in the first half of Wednesday’s District 1-3A semifinal against Choctawhatchee had left West Florida High frustrated.
With the score knotted 0-0 and just more than 12 minutes left in regulation on the field at tournament host Washington, the Jaguars needed something to go their way.
Abigail Yates provided.
The left wing came up big on a free kick as she layed into the ball, sending it into the net and the Jaguars into the district title game where they will meet Gulf Breeze for a third-consecutive season.
“She’s left-footed so it was on the right inside of the box,” said West Florida High coach Peter Stephens. “She has that natural bend and she just put into the upper 90.
“I was kind of watching the goal keepers positioning and I realized we would have a real good chance if she took the free kick.”
Yates, a freshman, knew she a chance as well.
“Slow down and just kick it,” Yates thought before taking the kick. “We kept thinking we were going to score and that if we took more chances eventually it would go in.”
Now, for a fourth-consecutive season, the Jaguars have a shot at the District 1-3A title and are guaranteed a berth in the region tournament.
No. 2 West Florida High faces No. 1 Gulf Breeze at 6 p.m. on Friday at Washington.
Dolphins take down host Washington
In the nightcap, Gulf Breeze shut out tournament host Washington 4-0 to advance to the district championship.
Four different players scored for the Dolphins in the contest as the Gulf Breeze offense kept the Wildcats on their heels.
“Kenny’s done a great job at Washington,” said Gulf Breeze coach Ryan Davenport. “His girls are working hard, they’ve played well … they’ve had some great results this year and they’re not an easy win.
“Now that this game’s over, we’ll prepare for West Florida on Friday.”
No. 5 Washington, which upset No. 4 Pensacola High in the quarterfinals, will turn its attention to the offseason.
“We have 11 seniors, and it’s certainly a difficult night for them, but they never gave up,” said Washington High coach Kenny Morgan. “Even in games where the score wasn’t in our favor, they never gave up.
“I’m extremely proud of them.”
District 1-3A Semifinal
GULF BREEZE 4, WASHINGTON 0
Gulf Breeze — Goals: Blair Amberson, Kiersten Edlund, Samantha Holloway, Grace Garbell. Assists: Olivia Johnson, Valerie Price, Garbel, Veronica Williamson.
Navarre, Niceville into District 1-4A title game
In the District 1-4A semifinals, tournament host and top seed Navarre routed Fort Walton Beach 8-2 while Niceville edged the Pace Patriots on penalty kicks.
The Eagles and Patriots battled to a 1-1 tie before heading to PK’s with Niceville coming out on top 5-3.
The No. 1 Raiders and No. 2 Niceville will meet at 6 p.m. on Friday at Navarre in the title game.
Want to go?
• WHO: No. 2 West Florida High vs. No. 1 Gulf Breeze.
• WHAT: District 1-3A Girls Soccer Championship Game.
• WHEN: 6 p.m. Friday.
• WHERE: Washington High School.
• COST: $6.