Region girls soccer: Holy Names 2, Clewiston 1
TAMPA — Sophomore Emily Abdoney missed most of the season. She didn't miss her biggest shot of the year.
Playing an extended role for the first time in three months since breaking a collarbone, Abdoney scored her first goal of the year in the 48th minute to give Academy of the Holy Names a 2-1 victory against Clewiston on Friday in the Class 2A region final — sending the Jaguars to their second straight state final-four appearance.
Holy Names (18-2-2), which lost to eventual state champion Jacksonville Bolles 2-1 in the 2016 state semis, will travel to West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy next Friday.
"We're on a mission,'' Holy Names coach Kareem Escayg said. "Last year, we were rookies going in the state final four. Although the team was a high-level team, nothing can compare you to that type of atmosphere. The girls are veterans now, and they know what to expect and what they need to do.''
Holy Names dominated Clewiston (16-7-1) with a 23-6 advantage on shots on goal. The Jaguars scored in the first 41 seconds on a 20-yard blast by Gabrielle Tuccio, but were locked in a 1-all tie when Clewiston's Kelsey Allison scored in the 19th minute.
Ironically, Abdoney was in the position she was because of an injury to another teammate. Claire Obeck, a junior forward, was lost to the season with a broken right leg suffered in Holy Names' 2-1 win Tuesday against Berkeley Prep. Escayg initially thought Obeck had a bruised leg.
"I'll be (at state) as a cheerleader,'' said Obeck, who scored the winning goal against Berkeley Prep. "This has been our goal all season to get to this state championship, and we saw it flash before our eyes. We grabbed the opportunity and we're there. . . We made it.''
Abdoney scored on a 5-yard flick off a cross from Olivia Tremonti.
"(Tremonti) was running down the (right) side and she crossed it,'' said Abdoney, who said she returned to action against Berkeley Prep. "She always has these great crosses. I just happened to be front post, and hit it in with my inside foot right corner.
"I just wanted to cry (after the goal). I usually play midfield. But Claire got hurt, so I started for her.''
Holy Names played without Ashley Dingle for the final 76 minutes with a left knee injury, but Escayg said he expects her to play against Oxbridge.