Mount Carmel pounced on No. 4 Mandeville 2-0 after 17 minute, and eased into the remainder of the Division I semifinal for a 4-1 victory over Mandeville on Friday at Tad Gormley Stadium.
Friday night’s semifinal match fell into place much quicker for Mount Carmel than its 1-0 overtime win over Byrd in the quarterfinals.
“That’s exactly what we were hoping to accomplish: take control of the game early, stay disciplined, pass the ball around, take advantage of the opportunities that would come up,” Mount Carmel coach Pavlos Petrous said.
“The first goal was wonderful, and then we scored a second goal quickly after that. In the second half, we knew they would come out hard, three in the back and three up top, so we wanted to stay disciplined in the back and counter. It worked out well for us.”
The Cubs advance to the Division I finals at Tad Gormley next week, where they will face No. 2 St. Scholastica, a 4-0 winner over Dominican on Friday.
“We always want to be on top of the game first, and it was really exciting for us to do that in the semifinals,” said Cubs forward Kelly Lewis, who notched MCA’s first goal.
“I think that (the first goal) set the momentum for the rest of the game.”
It paved the way for more.
Twelve minutes later, Kat Dehoog doubled the effort. The defender, who converted a 27-yard free kick to propel the Cubs past Mandeville (28-6-0) 2-1 in the regular season, nailed a 48-yard free kick this time to pad the lead.
“Sometimes the ball just doesn’t go in, and that’s what happened last match, so this time around, we were more focused to finish.
“We didn’t want to wait around and try to scramble for a last-minute goal,” Petrous said.
Hope Hoffman and Giselle Aguilera added one more goal apiece to sealed the match.
“They’re a phenomenal back line. We have a young girl, but they’re so strong in the back and play phenomenally together no matter what they’re handed from teams,” Lewis said of Mount Carmel’s defenders and keeper, whom have produced three clean sheets through four rounds of play thus far.
“They just deal with it and find a way.”