’Cats eliminate Edgewood, advance to final


Dean Stewart

Sophomore Matthew Moscrip charges downfield.

Sophomore Sam Leighton scored early in the second half to break a scoreless tie, and senior Darshan Ghayal added penalty-kick goal to lead West Shore past Edgewood 2-0 in the Class 2A boys’ soccer regional semifinal Tuesday night.

The Wildcats came into contact with the visiting Indians for an improbable third time this season, including defeating the Indians 2-0 in the district championships on Jan. 23. After thinking they’s seen the last of Edgewood, West Shore then shut out Lake Highland Prep 1-0 in the regional quarterfinal last Thursday. But Edgewood stunned Bishop Moore on Friday to set up a rematch between the bitter archrivals.

Tuesday’s game was a back-and-forth affair for the entire first half, ending in a scoreless draw. The Wildcats’ big break came as the second half began when Madden crossed a through-ball to sophomore Sam Leighton, who proceeded to beat multiple Edgewood defenders en route to an unassisted goal.

“I saw the gap open up and they just came flying in,” Leighton said. “I shot to the back of the net, and that was it.”

Later, sophomore Nick Burgess was two-hand shoved and tripped in the box resulting in a penalty kick and eventually a goal by senior Darshan Ghayal.

Edgewood attempted to climb back from the 2-0 deficit with several aggressive scoring attempts. Junior Allan Joyner made several saves in the closing minutes, but with around 21 minutes to go he dove for a save in the box and was met by multiple Edgewood players.

“I dove down to save the ball and the ball was above my hands, so I knew they deliberately tried to kick me in the face,” Joyner said.

As a result, he suffered lacerations under and to the side of his right eye and was helped off the field. Madden stepped in and made one save before Joyner returned to West Shore fans chanting his first name in delight.

The Wildcats’ next play against the Eastside High Rams in Gainesville on Friday. The Rams are undefeated this year and are ranked first in the state for the Class 2A. The third-ranked third Wildcats anticipate a competitive match, with the victor earning a bid to the state final four which will be played at Eastern Florida State College’s Melbourne campus next week.