The clock struck 12 on ASA College-Miami’s women’s soccer team’s Cinderella season this past Friday night when the Lady Silver Storm fell 3-0 to host Eastern Florida State College in the Region VIII Tournament Semifinals.
ASA Miami, which had beaten Eastern Florida 13 days prior in a critical regular season match, fell into a quick 1-0 hole when the Lady Titans scored a goal not even fully into the first minute of the game. That early goal seemingly put ASA behind the proverbial “eight ball” as the Silver Storm could never gain any true momentum.
Eastern Florida, which will host Broward College in Sunday’s (Oct. 28) Region VIII Championship game, went up 2-0 on the Silver Storm with a 54th minute goal and completely dashed the Silver Storm’s hopes of a rally with a 74th minute insurance goal by Aida Illas.
After the game, the Lady Silver Storm received a warm ovation from the nearly 40 fans – 25 of which coming on a school-chartered fan bus – who traveled to Melbourne, Florida to support the team.
ASA Miami ends the 2018 season with an 11-7-1 record – a complete turnaround from the winless (0-5) season the team endured just a year prior. The team also broke and set new single-game and culminative program records for goals, assists, points, saves, as well as consecutive wins and total wins.
The team also won its first-ever playoff game when it knocked off Polk State College this past Monday (Oct. 22) in the Region VIII quarterfinals/play-in game.
A lot of the credit for ASA’s huge turnaround season belongs to head coach David Luna and his coaching staff. After struggling in 2017, Luna reshaped his entire roster and put together an all-around solid team that had more depth and a handful of power players that could affect every game.
One of those power players being freshman forward Valentina Restrepo. Restrepo took Region VIII by storm, finishing the regular season as the No. 1 goal scorer (21) and No. 1 in points scored (48). She also tied for No. 6 in assists (6) and took the seventh most shots (38) in the region. More impressively, Restrepo ranked No. 22 in the country for goals and No. 26 nationally in points.
Another one of Luna’s newcomers – Ivana Slipcevic – ranked No. 1 in Region VIII in assists (10), No. 5 in points (22) and No. 10 in goals (6), in addition to ranking in the top 50 in the NJCAA in assists.
A handful of other Silver Storm players littered the Region VIII end-of-season totals leaders – freshman midfielder Alejandra Hurtado was No. 7 in points (16), freshman forward Isabella Heiderick tied for third in assists (8) and sophomore goalkeeper Noemy Franco finished No. 1 in saves (106), No. 3 in save percentage (.815), fifth in goals-against average (2.0) while securing six shutouts on the year.
Franco’s total saves and save percentage numbers also ranked her 25th and 43rd respectively in those categories.
While losing stings, Luna remains highly optimistic about where the program is sitting for the 2019 season – only graduating four sophomores (three of which mostly played in reserve roles), largely bringing back a team that has now gained playoff experience, along with adding a few new talented pieces through recruiting.