Seabreeze girls coach Eli Freidus buckled the Five Star Conference Soccer Tournament trophy into the passenger seat of his SUV and took it home for the second year in a row.
The Sandcrabs shut out Spruce Creek 5-0 in the conference final Thursday, Jan. 12.
“Last year when we got here, the goal was to make us the best team in the area and now we’ve won it two years in a row so we’ve been pretty dominant in that,” he said. “That’s pretty exciting.”
At the start of the game, Freidus was concerned with Spruce Creek's game plan. Coach Rudy Rodriguez played extra defenders which put the squeeze on Seabreeze’s top scorers and their ability to get open.
“They packed it in in the back,” Freidus said. “The girls couldn’t figure it out at first, and we couldn’t get opportunities to score. They were trying to frustrate us and get some opportunities for (Kaitlyn Herb) to score. We put Annabel Thistle on her. The girls did a good job to limit her.”
Entering the game, Herb had scored 29 of the Hawks' 60 goals.
Both teams maneuvered the ball aggressively in a fight for control until 14 minutes into the first half, Ari Roy scored the first goal of the game and followed it up with her second goal about 14 minutes later to put Seabreeze up 2-0 at the half.
“I haven’t really had very many goals this season so I just wanted to score a few,” Roy said. “I had a bad start, so once I got a goal I was getting momentum and got one more.”
Her twin sister, Mackenzie Roy, and midfielder Kylie Watson each had two assists, and teammate Olivia Chase had one.
“I just wanted to impact the offense because I’m not on it that much,” Mackenzie Roy said. “I just wanted to get an assist or a goal. I was really hoping we would get the win, but we didn’t want to overlook Creek because they have really good players.”
The Sandcrabs sealed the Hawks’ fate in the second half with two goals from Brianna Chesley and one from junior Hannah Howell.
In the last few minutes of the game, senior Megan Edwards, also known as "Tiny Tornado," took the field. Chesley tried to set Edwards up to score a goal. They have been friends for five years or so but have become very close the past two years. This is Edwards' first year on the varsity squad.
“The joy we shared after the goal against Deltona was unforgettable,” Chesley said. “I wanted to try and give her the joy and opportunity for a second time. I was telling Megan to stand on the PK spot, so I could pass her the ball and hopefully she scores. I told her she needed to use her “Tiny Tornado” skills to put the ball in the back of the net.”
“I think it did have a different feel but not quite for myself. I’m just happy to leave the Seabreeze team on a high note. I just want to leave this team and school doing the most I can. I want a legacy to be left for the Sandcrabs.”
This is Chesley’s last year with the Sandcrabs before playing next season for Baylor University in Waco, Texas. The second Five Star championship was bittersweet for the senior who felt it was more for the team this year than for herself.
“I think it did have a different feel but not quite for myself,” she said. “I’m just happy to leave the Seabreeze team on a high note. I just want to leave this team and school doing the most I can. I want a legacy to be left for the Sandcrabs.”
Seabreeze, which improved to 10-6, ends the regular season against two tough teams — they were scheduled to play nationally ranked Montverde Academy on the road on Tuesday, Jan. 17, and they will host Tocoi Creek on Friday, Jan. 20.
“We are building confidence going into district play and (the) postseason,” Freidus said. “Last year, my goal was to be the best team in the area. This year we want to make a little more noise in the postseason. Two years in a row, they lost to the state champion (Bishop Moore in 2022, Ponte Vedra in 2021) in the second round of the regionals by very close games. They deserve to get a little farther along in the tournament.”