ST. PETERSBURG — Kaja Dionne scored both goals and Shorecrest used a strong defensive effort to shut down Fort Myers Canterbury 2-0 in their Class 2A girls soccer region final Tuesday.
The Chargers (13-3-2) advance to the state semifinals where they will host Westminster Academy on Friday.
Dionne, an eighth grader, gave the Chargers a 1-0 lead at the eighth minute of the first half. She had a one-on-one with Canterbury goalkeeper Abigail Shea, and Dionne forced Shea to commit to a challenge before dribbling past her and scoring in the open net.
From there, Shorecrest put on an impressive display of defense and held the one-goal lead for over 70 minutes. The Chargers did not let Canterbury (11-7-1) get many free runs and rarely let them advance the ball in the box without a challenge.
“We had a game plan and they executed it so well,” Chargers coach Neal Wolfrath said. “It’s a credit to them for their effort and the way they just committed to locking things down once we got the lead.
Canterbury opportunities were few and far between in the second half. The best chances were from midfielder Jasmine Perez-Acosta, who sent a hard shot from about 20 yards out that landed right in the chest of Shorecrest goalkeeper Sonoma Kasica in the 72nd minute.
Perez-Acosta had a second opportunity about a minute later when she was able to get a ball at the top of the box, but three Chargers defenders converged on her and cleared the area.
“They were pretty confident that they would eventually break through our defense,” Wolfrath said. “But we’ve asked a lot out of this team and they have always come through. Tonight was no different."
With less than three minutes remaining, Canterbury went to an all-out attack and Dionne was able to get behind the Canterbury defense in transition for her second goal.
State girls soccer semifinals
All games at 7 p.m. Friday unless noted.
7A: No. 1 Plant at No. 1 Bartram Trail
5A: No. 1 Land O’ Lakes at No. 1 Ponte Vedra
2A: No. 1 Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy at No. 1 Shorecrest