Buchholz ready to face Fleming Island in rubber match

Published: Monday, February 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 12:00 a.m.

Seven area girls soccer teams qualified in various classes for the regional playoffs that began last Thursday.


Regional semifinals

Who: Orange Park Fleming Island (19-2-2) at Buchholz (18-4-0), Citizens Field, 7 p.m. today
What: Region 1-5A
How they got here: Fleming Island defeated Tallahassee Lincoln 4-1 in the regional quarterfinals; Buchholz defeated Tallahassee Chiles 1-0 in overtime in the regional quarterfinals
What’s next: Buchholz would host Niceville or travel to Lynn Haven Mosley for Friday’s regional final; Fleming Island would travel to either school.
Free kick: Alex Stanojev’s goal in the final seconds of overtime against Chiles lifted Buchholz to its first playoff win since 2007 and just its second since 2003. The Bobcats are in the regional playoffs for the 11th consecutive season; Fleming Island advanced to the Class 5A state semifinals a year ago. The Golden Eagles are in the regional playoffs for the fifth straight season. This is the third straight season that Fleming Island will face a Gainesville school in the playoffs, losing toGHS in a 2008 regional quarterfinal and defeating Eastside in the first round last winter. This is the first playoff meeting between the two schools.

Who: St. Francis (15-3-2) at Tallahassee Maclay (19-1-3), 7 p.m. today
What: Region 1-2A
How they got here: St. Francis defeated Tallahassee John Paul II 4-2 in the regional quarterfinals; Maclay defeated P.K. Yonge 5-1 in the regional quarterfinals
What’s next: St. Francis would host Niceville Rocky Bayou Christian or travel to Santa Rosa Beach South Walton for Friday’s regional final; Maclay would travel to either school.
Free kick: St. Francis picked up the first playoff win in school history last week as Tori Smith had two goals and an assist in the win over John Paul II. The Wolves are in the regional playoffs for the third consecutive season;Maclay is looking to advance to a regional final for the third straight season. The Marauders are in the regional playoffs for the 17th straight year. This is the first playoff meeting between the two schools.

Once again the regional-quarterfinal round has taken its toll on the area clubs as only Buchholz and St. Francis moved on an are playing in regional-semifinal contests this evening.

The Bobcats are at Citizens Field tonight and play host to Orange Park Fleming Island in a Region 1-5A semifinal, while St. Francis is on the road at Tallahassee Maclay for a Region 1-2A second-round game. Both games are at 7 p.m.

Fresh off its thrilling 1-0 overtime-win over Tallahassee Chiles in the opening-round, Buchholz now faces Fleming Island for the third time this season. The Bobcats fell to the Golden Eagles 3-0 in their one regular-season meeting before posting a 1-0 win over Fleming Island (19-2-2) to win the District 4-5A title.

“The girls know that it is going to take a big effort, they know how good Fleming Island is,” Buchholz first-year coach Jim Peterson said. “I am pretty confident that we are going to show up. The girls were excited at practice (Monday) and I am anxious to see what happens.”

The coach said his club will still be banking on the play senior midfielder/forward Laura Bedford, who he said has been dominating the midfield. Peterson is also looking to Brittany Fuller and Carly Anderson to lead the defensive effort for the Bobcats (18-4-0).

If Buchholz is able to get past Fleming Island, Class 5A state semifinalists a year ago, and become the first-area team to reach a regional final since Oak Hall did it in 2007, it will get a boost to its lineup. Havana Solaun the Bobcats’ leading scorer with 28 goals, is currently in Miami trying out for the Under-17 National Team. She missed last Thursday’s game and will be out for tonight’s contest as well, but is expected to return for the Bobcats if they are in Friday’s Region 1-5A final.

After picking up the first regional-playoff win in school history last week, St. Francis (15-3-2) also has it sights set on advancing to a regional final. But it won’t be easy as the Wolves have to travel to Tallahassee to face Maclay (19-1-3), which topped P.K. Yonge 5-1 in the regional-quarterfinals. The Marauders are in the regional playoffs for the 17th straight season and are looking to reach the regional finals for the third consecutive year.

“We know we have our work cut out for us,” Wolves coach Henry Couch said. “It is uncharted waters for us, I think we will play well.”

St. Francis is led by Jessica Bradley’s 26 goals and Tori Smith’s 15 goals. The duo combined for three goals and two assists in the 4-2 regional-quarterfinal win over Tallahassee John Paul II.

“We are looking forward to tomorrow night (tonight),” Couch said. “We would be considered the underdogs and that is the position we want to be in.”

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