As the halftime buzzer reverberated across Sal Campanella Memorial Field, Flagler Palm Coast’s girls soccer team trudged into the locker room after falling behind 2-0 to rival Seabreeze on the Bulldogs’ senior night.
But the Bulldogs weren’t being herded into the locker room in order to escape the frigid, cold night air. The Bulldogs, who were dangerously close to losing their top spot in the conference, were getting a talking to.
“Anytime I take them in the locker room, that means I’m probably yelling at them,” FPC coach Pete Hald said. “I got in their faces a little bit and told them what I thought. I challenged them to do better.”
Enter team captain Saba Amiri.
Following FPC’s first goal of the game — a wide-open score by freshman striker Taylor Murphy at the 33:14 mark in the second half — Amiri kicked a low ball into the left corner of the net to even the game 2-2. And with 12:14 left in the contest, the senior midfielder struck again, sneaking a ball past the outstretched fingers of a diving Seabreeze goalkeeper. A goal by fellow senior and captain Brittany Murphy with 9:48 to play sealed the deal on FPC’s 4-2 win over Seabreeze on the night of Tuesday, Jan. 16, at FPC High School.
“We just weren’t in it in the first half,” Amiri said. “I was just upset because I didn’t want my senior night to be a loss. Coach Hal got on us big time. He was trying to get us back into our game, and I wanted to go all out to win.”
FPC (15-2-2) was originally scheduled to play Seabreeze at home on Dec. 9. However, unsafe field conditions postponed the game until Tuesday night, which was originally slated as an away game for the Bulldogs. However, Hald said he wasn’t happy with playing a tough opponent like the Sandcrabs for a senior night.
“We just really didn’t play well,” Hald said. “And I’m not making excuses, but senior night, their heads just aren’t in the game. It’s a poor warm up. There’s all the emotions. Girls are crying. Senior nights are just awful.”
Hald called his team’s first half performance “pansy soccer.”
“They were afraid of getting hurt,” he said. “I told them that if we play like this next week, we’re not going to make it out of the district semifinal. But after we took the momentum, Seabreeze could never recover.”