The COVID-19 pandemic has hit a lot of teams hard over the past year.
Cypress Bay’s girls’ soccer team is up there with the squads which were severely affected.
Despite playing only eight matches all season, the Lightning made it to their third consecutive state final.
Unfortunately, the ninth didn’t result in a long-awaited state championship.
Cypress Bay’s brief yet challenging unbeaten season came to a painful end in a 4-0 loss to St. Johns Bartram Trail in the Class 7A final on Friday afternoon at Spec Martin Stadium.
The Lightning (8-1) lost to the Bears for the second consecutive season in the state final and dropped its third final in a row after having never made it that far prior to 2019.
“It’s still a hard pill to swallow and it’s disheartening,” Cypress Bay coach Kate Dwyer said. “But they’re so good. They’re big physically and you look at our middles we just don’t match up size-wise.”
The Lightning didn’t start their season until January due to COVID-19 shutdowns. Then, after playing their first two matches, another COVID case sidelined the team for three weeks.
“My back line is different every single game and we just didn’t have time to formulate it,” Dwyer said. “I don’t wanna make excuses because everyone in Broward and Dade were in the same boat. Would 10 more games have gotten us to beat them today? No, but we might have been a little more fit.”
Sophomore midfielder Grace Ivey scored three of Bartram Trail’s four goals as the Bears (19-2) put pressure on Cypress Bay’s goal immediately.
Camila Jimenez came up with their first real chance with 6 minutes left in the first half, but she hit the crossbar. Megan Morgan fired two shots in succession moments later, but they were blocked by defenders as was sophomore Sarah Rubio’s attempt as the Lightning finally put some consistent pressure on Bartram Trail’s goal just before halftime.
The Lightning will experience roster turnover again according to Dwyer, who said only three players return from her core starters.
“We have such turnover and that’s why the eight games killed us and we couldn’t put together any continuity,” Dwyer said.