Only four area high school girls soccer teams remain.
Catholic, Gulf Breeze, West Florida and Pace all will try to keep their seasons alive at 7 p.m. today in the region quarterfinal round of the state playoffs. A win assures them at least one more game, but a loss ends the season.
For the Patriots, a victory would give the squad an additional perk: redemption.
Pace (12-2-4) was shocked Friday with a 1-0 overtime loss to Niceville in the District 1-4A championship game -- and the winning goal, scored by the Eagles' Brooke Sneller, was questionable.
The ball just barely crossed the goal line before the Patriots knocked it out. The Pace girls thought they had made a save. Instead, they suffered a loss and had to settle for being the district runner-up.
A win on the road against Panama City Mosley, the District 2-4A champion, in the Region 1-4A quarterfinals would help ease the sting of the loss to the Eagles, who now have won three district titles in a row.
"Hopefully, we can get a few good practices in and come out on top (in the quarterfinals)," first-year Pace coach Amber Hayen said. "We want to win, and we want to win it the Pace way."
Winning the "Pace way" is using the team's speed to overwhelm opponents. Sophomore Hannah Abrams leads the Patriots in scoring with 20 goals. Senior Eleana Colvin is second with 13 and has doled out 10 assists.
In addition to a fast-paced offense, the Patriots' defense has proven to be just as challenging to the opposition. That showed during Friday's loss when the powerhouse Eagles struggled to find good looks at the goal.
The defense is anchored by sisters Katelyn and Taylor Burkhart, both juniors. Katelyn Burkhart is the goalkeeper and has been formidable all season with 126 saves and eight shutouts in 17 games.
If the Patriots win tonight, there's a good chance they could see Niceville again in the region semifinals. In fact, that's what Eagles coach Michael Denton is counting on.
"I want to seem them in the semifinals," said Denton, whose team hosts Tallahassee Lincoln tonight. "They're a quality team with quality players -- not just on the field, but off the field. And you want that kind of team to move forward and represent the Panhandle."
Catholic hosts Tallahassee Florida High tonight in the Region 1-2A quarterfinals and is looking to keep the momentum of its District 1-2A championship win from last week going.
"I think right now, we're just trying to enjoy the moment for what it is," coach Breck Smith said. "They know that if they want to continue, they have to play a certain way and have a certain focus. They need to stay in good spirits and try to stay close (as a team)."
The Crusaders (18-3-4) are anchored by nine seniors, including forward Katie Richmond, who has committed to the University of Florida. In the district semifinals last week, Richmond took 11 shots and scored two goals.
Catholic's seniors were freshmen in 2010 when the Crusaders advanced to the state semifinals for the first time in school history. But they know if they want to do that again, they have to focus on one game at a time. And tonight's game against the Trojans, who Catholic hasn't played this season, is a little bit of a question mark.
"It's difficult to prepare for a team you've never seen before," Smith said, "but we're working on improving some things that maybe throughout the season we haven't done well. So we're working on perfecting some things, and hopefully, we'll be successful and move on to the next game."
Two teams, Gulf Breeze and West Florida, are competing in the Region 1-3A quarterfinals tonight.
The District 1-3A champion Dolphins host Panama City Arnold. The Jaguars play on the road against District 2-3A champion Choctawhatchee.
Gulf Breeze (20-3-4) is coming off a stellar regular season that included a 19-game unbeaten streak and a 10-game winning streak. Four Dolphins have scored 10 goals or more , including senior Allison Proctor (19), junior Alyssa Pejic (16), freshman Kiersten Edlund (16) and senior Korrie Abernathy (10). Junior goalkeeper Mollie Johnson has made 106 saves and has nine shutout wins.
The Jaguars (13-7-2) are led by Andrea Rivera and Brianna Schubeck, who have combined this season for 19 goals and 20 assists. Goalkeepers Morgan Duckworth and Brianna Wisniewski have combined for 126 saves.
Follow Jamie Secola at twitter.com/JamieSecolaPNJ