The Pine Crest Girls' Soccer team's season came to a close Friday night, January 29th, after making an incredible run during the postseason.
The Panthers finish the season with an outstanding record of 19-2-2. They were especially great for their fans at home games, in which they posted an 11-1 record.
During their season to remember, the girls captured the Class 2A District Championship. They first crushed FAU High in the quarterfinal 8-0, and then outlasted North Broward Prep in a tough semifinal 1-0, with senior Maddie Brier scoring the lone goal. That set up the colossal matchup between the Lady Panthers and arch-rival Cardinal Gibbons, whom the girls tied in their first meeting this season, to decide the championship. Early in the game, it looked as if Cardinal Gibbons had struck first as their players celebrated a goal scored on a header. However, after further inspection, it was found that the ball went just outside the post and did not actually go in. The game remained tied, and the Panthers were given new energy. After a hard-fought second half, the game went into extra time. Senior Autumn Clark would then score the game-winning goal to secure a 1-0 win and the district championship for Pine Crest.
Then, the girls moved on to Regionals. In the quarterfinal on January 26th, the Panthers put together a dominant performance, beating King’s Academy 4-0. In the regional semifinal, a rematch with Cardinal Gibbons loomed. Pine Crest once again prevailed 1-0 over the Chiefs, with senior Jordyn Elliott scoring on a penalty shot that will go down in the record books as one of the memorable moments PC athletics. This set up the regional final match on January 29th against Gulliver Prep. There was amazing support shown for the girls as two full buses of students left school early to attend the game and cheer on their team. The intensity was unbelievable with neither team willing to back down, and the game ended up coming down to penalty kicks after no goals were scored in regulation. Pine Crest lost in the penalty kicks, but that shouldn't overshadow or put a blemish on the amazing season that the Panthers had.
Senior captain and soon-to-be NYU Bobcat Isabelle Turner reflected on the Panthers’ season. “This season of soccer was unlike any season I have seen before. I’ve never met a group of girls that had so much faith in one another. In every game we played, we busted our butts for our teammates standing on the field with us. That’s what I think the key to our successful season was, playing for each other. No matter how difficult the game was, we never gave up and never let the score get to our heads. Although we didn’t get the results we wanted I am very proud at how hard each and every player worked this season. I couldn’t ask for a better senior soccer season,” said Turner.
There is no question that this team was incredibly close-knit, and that was a crucial part of their success. On a team that featured multiple players that will play at the collegiate level next year, the squad's character probably proved to be their biggest asset. The girls demonstrated how to play the game the right way, and they had the desire to win for each other, not for themselves. The selfless approach taken by all the players is why this team achieved so much and why they will be remembered at Pine Crest for a long time. Surely, there will be big shoes to fill next year as this phenomenal senior class departs. This team took the entire school on an amazing ride and brought the community closer together, and for that, we'll be forever grateful.