Seabreeze’s girls soccer players weren’t just playing for themselves against Flagler Palm Coast on Saturday, Nov. 20. They were also playing for dozens of their predecessors.
The Sandcrabs’ 5-0 victory at FPC’s Sal Campanella Stadium was their first against the Bulldogs in 11 seasons.
“This is a big deal for us,” said Emily Myers, who scored two goals for Seabreeze (2-2).
“This year we were really prepared for this game,” Myers said. “We came in knowing that whoever scored the first goal, that’s where the momentum was going.”
Sure enough, after an even battle for much of the first half, sophomore Kylie Watson scored off a drop ball in the corner, and minutes later, Myers made it 2-0 with a shot that curved into the upper left corner of the goal.
Myers then made it 3-0 early in the second half off a corner kick.
“Our objective is to score at the beginning and end of each half,” Myers said.
The game was the finale of the FPC Soccer Showcase, although officially it was not part of the event.
The game was rescheduled from Nov. 15 and added to the weekend’s slate after Showcase participant Vero Beach had a conflict and could not play a second game.
“They weren’t part of the Showcase,” FPC coach Pete Hald said of the Sandcrabs. “But the way they played they should have been.”
The Showcase featured three reigning state champs in Bartram Trail, Ponte Vedra and Lakeland Christian. A fourth Showcase team, Jacksonville Bolles, lost in the regional finals last season but had won state championships from 2018 to 2020.
The purpose of the event, Hald said, besides providing a showcase for area soccer connoisseurs, is to increase the strength of schedule for the Bulldogs and other participating teams.
Strength of schedule is one of the criteria for rankings that decide at-large berths into the playoffs after the season.
“We came in knowing that whoever scored the first goal, that’s where the momentum was going.”
EMILY MYERS, Seabreeze forward
Ponte Vedra defeated FPC 4-0 the first day of the showcase. The Bulldogs (3-2-1) played the two games without several injured players. Freshman goalkeeper Saige Strickland was playing in her first varsity games after starter Kaitlyn Holley suffered a concussion against DeLand on Nov. 16.
The win was the second in a row for the Sandcrabs, who shut out Gainesville 4-0 on Nov. 16 for their first victory.
“We’ve been picking up momentum,” said Seabreeze coach Eli Freidus.
That was evident during the contest as Seabreeze dominated the second half with Isabella Castillo and Nickole Dane adding goals.
“Our defense was on point. Our midfield was winning all the balls,” Seabreeze goalkeeper Avery Dellinger said. “I had nothing to do in the second half.”
“The game is dictated by confidence,” Hald said. “And Seabreeze took it over. That’s what goals do, they build your confidence up and you take chances. They were hungry.”
Since 2010, Seabreeze had tied FPC several times and lost some close games, including a 1-0 decision last season, but the Sandcrabs had not won in 18 straight contests between the two Five Star Conference rivals.
“This is just the beginning,” Myers said.
“We’re looking forward to a really good season,” Dellinger added.
The Sandcrabs will have a tough road match against Ponte Vedra on Monday, Nov. 29. FPC (3-2-1) will host Orange City University on Nov. 29.