Island Coast ousted in State Cup semifinals

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WELLINGTON Despite the final score, all of the news wasn't bad for the Island Coast Soccer Alliance U-18 girls soccer team on Saturday morning in Wellington.

Sure, Island Coast's goal of winning a State Cup in the U-18 division ended with a 5-0 semifinal loss against Team Boca 90/91 White at Pierson Park.

But nearly all of Island Coast's line-up played up an age bracket this season, so that means most of the team -- including Cypress Lake High's Desiree Meyer and Sarah Yates -- is eligible to return as bona fide U-18s next spring.

Island Coast coach Jamie Byers hopes his team -- which is comprised of high school juniors and seniors from Lee and Collier counties -- will use the setback as motivation for next season.

"It will be good for the kids next year to take that emotion now and relay it into practice so that they work harder. Hopefully with the 12 kids we have coming back next year and when we compete at the appropriate age level, we should be OK," he said.

Team Boca scored twice early in the game and tacked on three more in the second half.

"We had a lot of possession with the ball and we worked very hard," said Byers. "I think the difference today was not one particular thing. I just think there was a little more quality in the other team. There was a little more physical presence in the other team. There was a little more psychological edge in the other team. When you put it all together, it added up to a poor result for us."

Already up 1-0 on an early goal by Christina Gratz, Team Boca doubled its lead when Stacey Payne drilled a low liner past a diving Makenzie Vance on a penalty kick.

"Anytime you get a team -- at this level -- down 2-0, it's pretty hard to come back," said Team Boca coach Bill D'Addio.

Team Boca padded its lead in the second half on back-to-back goals by Arielle Cohen, both of which were set-up by Jasmine Castellon.

With some nifty dribbling work in tight quarters, Payne concluded the scoring with her second goal.

Island Coast was stymied each team they entered Team Boca's side of the field.

Team Boca's four college-bound backs -- Bridget Becker (Lafayette), Kim Hobgood (Ole Miss), Genevieve Rigg (FAU) and Jandy Ward (UCF) -- suffocated Island Coast's offense all game. Island Coast struggled to get shots off and spent very little time in Team Boca's box.

"Our four backs are very solid," said D'Addio. "They've been together for awhile. They pressure and cover very well together. They're tough to beat."

Ida Baker-Cape Coral junior Christine Giles generated Island Coast's best scoring opportunities, including a point blank shot that was stopped by Team Boca keeper Samantha Perretty in the first half.

"I thought Christine Giles had an absolutely fantastic game," said Byers. "She worked her socks off -- as did every kid on our team -- but technically she stood above the rest. Any impact we had on the game, she was responsible for."

Team Boca lost to RSL Florida, 2-0, in Sunday's championship.