Scots win first district girls’ soccer title in more than a decade

When former St. Andrew’s girls’ soccer star Lauren Reilly walked into the athletic director’s office at her former school, she had one goal.

“I told the AD (Scott Williams) that I wanted to win the district title and move on to regionals,” said Reilly, who took over at midseason after a coaching change.

The program, which won the Class 3A state title in 2007, had fallen on hard times the past decade with just one winning season in 10 years.

“When we met,” Reilly said, “I thought it would be a good fit and I knew from the first day of practice this was a good group.”

The 2016-17 team went 8-7 and finished fourth in the district. The Scots had a combined 39-82-14 record, including winless seasons in 2014, during the past 10 years.

St. Andrew’s won the Class 3A state title in 2007 with a 3-1 victory over Lake Highland Prep, and Reilly was a part of that team and then in her senior year (2009), they fell to American Heritage 2-1 in the state semifinals. They reached the regional quarters in 2010 and 2011 and hadn’t tasted the postseason since.

“I think the cool thing was when me and my assistant coach Kelly Giddes came in the beginning of December after the previous coach had left and we wanted to take the program in a different direction,” said Reilly, who took over the program when they were 2-3-1 record and went 6-2-2 since.

“We had some great interim coaches that took the program after the head coach had left,” Reilly said. “It’s my alma mater. I love St. Andrew’s. When I played here, game day was a thing. I look at what Rachael Grimes does over at Boca High and I wanted to make it an experience that the girls will remember forever. I wanted it to be something they would be proud of. They represent their school. They represent their awesome families…I wanted to re-instill that excitement for girls’ soccer at St. Andrew’s.”

The Scots (8-5-3) topped rival and host St. John Paul Academy II, 2-1 to win the District 12-3A championship before falling to The King’s Academy in the regional quarterfinals. St. Andrew’s had lost St. John Paul Academy II 4-1 on Nov. 29 before Reilly and her staff took over.

“I knew we were the underdogs from the jump, which I love,” said Reilly, whose team also downed FAU High 6-4 in the semifinal. “We just had to figure out a way to put them in the right places to be successful. We had a heckuva fight in both our semifinal and the district championship.”

Senior Katherine Goodman scored her 20th goal of the season in the 28th minute from 18 yards out for a 1-0 lead. Freshman Brie Berman scored just her second goal of the year nine minutes into the second half to double the advantage. Mary Hartofolis scored for the Eagles with a little more than a minute remaining to pull within 2-1.

“I knew we were the underdogs from the jump, which I love,” said Reilly, who was an assistant coach at Palm Beach Atlantic. “We just had to figure out a way to put them in the right places to be successful. We had a heckuva fight in both our semifinal and the district championship.

“It was great to come home to St. Andrew’s and show the leadership I got from my college career and playing career,” she said. “I remember in the first meeting I said it was regionals or bust and a couple of people laughed. I wasn’t joking. I demand a lot and expect a lot and the girls always delivered.”

Goodman, 18, who lives in Boca Raton, was both giddy and emotional after the game.

“This is life-changing, it really is,” said Goodman, who has been at St. Andrew’s her entire life. “I am a lifer and I dreamed of this moment ever since I started playing soccer. I couldn’t ask for a better way to close out my senior year and share that with my classmates.

“This is the best way to end my senior year,” said Goodman, who is headed to Middlebury College for soccer. She set two school records for soccer — most goals (7) and most points (15) in a game during a win over Donna Klein Jewish Academy.

“Being an underdog makes it that much sweeter. We were hungry and came out here ready to play. I think we blindsided (St. John Paul Academy II) and played with passion and aggression. I couldn’t be more grateful for the underclassmen who gave me this opportunity to experience such happiness.”

Until this year, the Scots hadn’t won more than five games in a season since that 8-7 record in 2016-17.

“Honestly, I was surprised because this was a very tough game and it was the finals,” said Berman, 14, of Boca Raton. “They had beaten us in the past, so to be able to contribute to the score and to be able to win, it feels really good.”

Berman received a pass from Erin Cabrera-Hock and her arms immediately went up signaling a goal. Her first goal of the year came in the semifinal win over FAU High.

“I saw it was going to be a through ball and I timed it right,” Berman said. “I saw the goalie was coming out, so I hit it to the far post, and it went in. It felt really good because everybody was hugging me because I had contributed to the win.”