First place Latin Academy (11-2-0) downed fourth place O’Bryant (10-3-2) while second place New Mission (10-1-1) was upended by third place East Boston (10-1-1) on penalty kicks in the Boston City League girls soccer semifinals.
Both games ended 1-0, showing the parity in the leading heading into the championship game Thursday at Madison Park, said Latin Academy coach Nick Kamberidis.
“We’re all within a goal from each other,” Kamberidis said.
O'Bryant forwards Aleena Hill-Da Costa, Yonetta Harris and Keena Nicholas all attacked the goal and exhibited great skill, but were unable to score.
At the end of the first half it looked like the game would go in O’Bryant’s favor after the team was granted a penalty kick, but it was unsuccessful.
With fifteen minutes left in the second half, Latin Academy forward Morgan Wheeler sent a swift pass to senior Virginia McCaughey. McCaughey went on to score what would be the only goal of the game.
“We were nervous towards the end,” Wheeler said. “[O’Bryant] picked it up, but we have an amazing goalie and defense so we got lucky. For tomorrow, we’re just going to get a long night of sleep in, come in and do it again.”
East Boston and New Mission proved to be an even matchup as well, going a scoreless 90 minutes before being decided by shootout.
East Boston senior Maria Vargas and freshmen Pamela Sepulveda and Vanessa Figgueroa attacked the New Mission goalie tenaciously throughout the game, but were unable to make good on any of their scoring chances. Neither were New Mission senior forwards Fantazia Hinds and Bonnie Ramos as well as sophomore Qiyamah Abburrashid.
Both teams were aggressive and showcased a strong defense, resulting in a 0-0 tie.
“Our whole team was nervous today,” East Boston junior defender Hannah Lunetta said. “We knew it’d be tough but we came through. We were confident at the end though. We knew our goalie could make those saves.”
Lunetta's confidence was spot on, as East Boston keeper Brittany Brancato helped bring the girls to victory. She faced four shots from New Mission and blocked three, while Titans junior keeper Amarelis Morales faced four of East Boston’s shots and blocked one.
“We performed pretty well,” East Boston coach Richard La Cara said. “We’re a defensive minded team, we set the defense first. We have the best goalie and the best defense. If it went to penalty kicks, we knew we’d get it.”
East Boston will face Latin Academy 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Madison Park for the city title.
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