The Lady Cowboys varsity soccer team had an eventful night at their home field on Tuesday, February 6, playing in the regional semi-final against JP Taravella High School. After beating the Taravella Trojans 6-1, the Cowboys will move on to regional finals against Cypress Bay High School.
After last year’s defeat against Cypress at the Cowboys’ home field, the team is ready to take them on in the regional finals.
“We’re looking forward to having a chance to redeem ourselves against Cypress from last year,” Victoria Ramos said.
Taravella previously played Cypress and the game remained tied 0-0, going all the way into penalty kicks when Cypress eventually took the lead. Going into this game, the Cowboys did not know what to expect, knowing only the records of their opponent.
“Some of the players came out expecting that we were going to have a super close game due to the stats against Cypress,” sophomore Kimberly Slinkosky said. “Taravella tied them throughout the game and eventually lost in penalty kicks. Since we came out strong we were able to get in some quick goals and get the lead on them.”
When the whistle blew, the Trojans started with the ball. Tension filled the air, with both teams knowing that the game would determine their future, either extending this journey or bringing an end to the losing team’s season. Within the first 25 minutes, the Cowboys were up by one goal scored by Slinkosky, who then assisted the next goal scored by Abbi Gilchrist, making the score 2-0. At this point the Cowboys had set the tone of the game, and they maintained possession of the ball.
The Cowboys’ swift ball movement across the field seemed to begin to frustrate the Trojans, turning the game into a more serious, physical match up. When Olivia Lewis from the Cowboys went in hard to get the ball from the center forward, ending her to the ground, the referee called a foul on Lewis. Forward Victoria Ramos dropped back to defend the kick off of the foul, where she then had to work with defenders Kylee Griffin and Jasmine O’Harra, who prevented anyone from getting the rebounded ball.
After this, there was ball flow back and forth. The Cooper City goalie punted all the way to half field where Gilchrist applied pressure to the Trojan defense, giving the Cowboys a corner kick. Cowboy Annie Clark scored on this kick, and the first yellow card of the game came right after, when a Trojan player abruptly bodied the Cowboy defender, taking the Cowboys into halftime, 3-0.
The half started with the ball in Cooper City’s possession, and Ramos took the ball all the way up the field before it was stolen from her. From there, the Trojans managed to take the ball all the way up the side line and into the Cooper City defensive third of the field. Slinkosky then came running up the field and took the ball right around the Taravella goalie and shot, just missing the goal.
As the tension increased, the referees began to call fouls left and right when another Taravella player received a yellow card. It seemed as though chaos had ensured, but both teams remained on their game. Slinkosky scored her second goal, making the score 4-0. Giving it right back to the Cowboys, Taravella was able to score their first goal of the night, making the score 4-1.
While the girls fought it out on the field, ambition to win came over some of the fans and parents in the stands. With so many fouls being called, some of the Taravella parents began to chant derogatory things, calling for retaliation against the Cowboys and offending players and spectators alike. As the game progressed police officers began to gather, and by its end six officers were on the premise for the safety of the players, referees, coaches and crowd.
One of the Taravella coaches became involved and was yellow carded as a warning, putting a strain on the Trojans. The game went on, but it was not long before the chanting and physical plays led to more conflict. The referee pulled out his blue card, signaling unsportsmanlike conduct against a Taravella player, and requiring her to sit out of the game for two to five minutes. At this, Taravella’s coach once again became riled up, and the referee gave her a red card, ejecting her the game. The game paused as the coach was escorted off the sideline by golf cart, to remain behind the gate for the rest of the game.
Once the game resumed, both teams played even dirtier. Fouls were being called and the crowd was rowdy; having to stop every other play for a foul put a damper on the game.
“I thought that the game was a very aggressive and intense one,” captain Cailin Reto said. “I don’t honestly think there was anything we could have done better with that game because of the team we were going against, we had crossing and attacking movement as well as getting back to defend.”
Once things were almost back in rhythm freshman Kelly Nelson scored for the Cowboys, bringing the game to 5-1. Senior Berlin Rodriguez was then called for being offsides. To close out the game Danielle Gilchrist scored, taking a free kick just outside the box after a handball had been called. The final score was 6-1, and the Cowboys moved on to play Cypress Bay High School on Friday, February 9.
Final score: Cowboys 6, Trojans 1
Photo by Kyle Nelson