Girls soccer preview: American Heritage have high expectations again
Monday, October 31, 2011
by Matt Porter
Once again, the most talented team in the area will be American Heritage.
Once again, coach Steve Burgess has no problem bearing that weight.
"Expectations are high, just like they are every season," he said.
With good reason. Under Burgess, the Stallions have won two straight state titles and four since 2004. Although four- and five-year captains Lauren Silver and Miranda Fyfe have graduated, Burgess could field a team more potent than the one that outscored opponents 24-1 in last year's post-season .
Heritage returns the area's leading goal-scorer, junior forward Yulie Jopez (33 goals); versatile, high-scoring senior Sydney Parodie; and junior midfielder Sarah Coy. As a bonus, senior striker Tatiana Penagos returns after losing last year to ACL surgery. Several others will have an effect, including freshman defender Alex Taylor, a standout since seventh grade and a captain this year.
Reclassification brings a new challenge. That task is hardest in District 10-5A, where teams now have the task of beating out either Boca Raton or West Boca Raton for one of two playoff spots. Both teams were hit hard by graduation - West Boca lost Tatiana Coleman, The Palm Beach Post's large schools Player of the Year, and Boca lost several All-Area players - but both have reloaded. The Bulls will be strong defensively with seniors Sarah Ballante and Jordyn Richman, while Boca Raton boasts a balanced attack. Park Vista will be a tough opponent, while Spanish River has improved.
Versatile senior Natalie Punyal graduated, but Wellington will be the team to beat in District 9-5A. Expect to hear from Jupiter and Palm Beach Central, which will test itself with a game against American Heritage. Dwyer, Palm Beach Gardens and Seminole Ridge will field competitive squads .
In District 14-4A, South Fork and Olympic Heights are the favorites. Likewise, Jensen Beach and Suncoast lead in 15-3A.
Heritage, which has Boca Raton, West Boca Raton and several out-of-area squads on the schedule, has the most skill in a strong District 13-2A. St. Andrew's, Pope John Paul II and North Broward Prep will put up a fight. Benjamin is a slight favorite in District 12-2A, but will get a strong push from King's Academy.
Inside the season
Ten players to watch
Yulie Lopez, American Heritage, Jr.
Petra Schult, West Boca Raton, Sr.
Anna Talbot, Wellington, Sr.
Katie O'Hare, Benjamin, Fr.
Kat Weiss, Jupiter, Soph.
Jordyn Richman, W. Boca Raton, Sr.
Sami Sadler, Park Vista, Sr.
Sarah Coy, American Heritage, Jr.
Tiffany Anderson, L.W. Christian, Jr.
Catalina Perez, St. Andrew's, Jr.
Five teams to watch
West Boca Raton
District tournaments, Jan. 16-20; regional quarterfinals, Jan. 26; regional semifinals, Jan. 31; regional finals, Feb. 3; state finals Feb. 8-11 at University