Lady Sharks district winners again


It’s playoff time again for girls’ soccer, and no one should be shocked to learn that the Ponte Vedra Sharks are the 3A District 4 champions again.

They did it by blanking Pedro Menendez 3-0 Friday evening on the Falcons’ home field. Nor should the shutout by Ponte Vedra be a big surprise. Strong defense is a characteristic of coach Dave Silverberg’s teams and is the reason his girls have enjoyed perennial post-season success.

For goalkeeper Hannah Suder and the Sharks defense, it was the third straight game in which they did not allow a goal. In 20 games, Ponte Vedra has allowed just 16 goals or 0.8 goals per game; against district opponents it’s even better – a miniscule 0.6 goals per game.

The Sharks win avenged a 1-0 loss to Menendez earlier this month and Friday’s game looked like it might be a replay of that affair. Ponte Vedra did everything but score in the opening half, thanks in some large measure to the outstanding performance of the Falcon keeper as well as some bad luck finishing plays on the part of the Sharks. When the first half was over, the Sharks had controlled play for most of the 40 minutes, taken perhaps a dozen shots on goal and had nothing to show for it. But Menendez wasn’t able mount any kind of attack against the tough Ponte Vedra defense so the score stood 0-0 at the break.

Ponte Vedra started the second half in much the same way as they had played in the first. At the 38-minute mark, their first shot on goal banged off the cross bar. Things changed four minutes later. Piper Dotsikas sent a perfect pass to Kia Hayes in front of the Falcon goal and the sophomore headed it in to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead.

Dotsikas – who played magnificently throughout the game – blasted a laser from outside the arc into the corner of the goal to pad Ponte Vedra’s lead with 20 minutes left. Despite the Sharks’ 2-0 lead, Dotiskas wasn’t finished. She fed a pretty pass to Lillian Mace, who slipped the ball over the keeper’s head for Ponte Vedra’s third and final goal with ten minutes left to play.

“The girls are peaking at the right time,” said Silverberg. “They believe they’re going to win.”

Ponte Vedra will host the regional quarterfinals against Terry Parker on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m.