Raiders punch ticket to district final

Navarre’s girls soccer team is headed to the championship game of the District 1-4A tournament after blanking Tate 2-0 in the semifinal round Tuesday night.

Navarre advances to play Niceville in the district title game at 6 p.m. Thursday at Tate. Both teams are assured of spots in the regional tourney.

“I’m very excited for the girls on the win as it advances us into the regional playoffs,” Navarre head coach Rob Simon said. “The girls have had a good week and a half of training. The mental focus and preparation is getting back to top level and the results are showing on the field.”

Navarre and Niceville met in the district final last year, with the Raiders falling 1-0. The Raiders won the regular season showdown this year by a 4-1 score.

The Raiders are seeking their second district crown in program history and are in a position to win it thanks in part to the play of Jennifer Seward, who once again rose to the occasion, scoring both goals to push the Raiders past the Aggies.

Seward broke a scoreless tie in the 21st minute off an assist from Anakah Madril and then punched in an insurance goal in the 72nd minute, lifting the Raiders to their 22nd win of the year.

After coming through with a hat trick in Monday’s 8-0 quarterfinal win over Escambia, Seward now has five goals in two district tournament games.

Jessika Seward and Emily Depersio both saw time in goal and recorded two saves apiece, helping Navarre earn its second shutout win of the postseason and fourth consecutive shutout overall going back to the regular season.

Navarre (22-1-1) has kept five of its last six opponents off the scoreboard.

Navarre is thriving in the postseason despite being without the best player in the state. Two-time All-American Emily Madril graduated from high school in December in order to enroll at Florida State and get an early jump on her college athletic career.

But the Raiders have marched ahead despite not having Madril and that doesn’t surprise Simon, who said in December he was confident the team is talented enough to where others can step up and play well.

 

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