Seabreeze junior forward Annabel Thistle said the Sandcrabs were expecting to meet New Smyrna Beach for the Five Star Conference girls soccer championship.
Of the four Volusia and Flagler County teams that the Sandcrabs faced this season, New Smyrna Beach was the only one they did not beat. NSB tied Seabreeze 1-1 on Dec. 12.
“We expected New Smyrna Beach to be in the finals. We prepared for them. They’re very good,” Thistle said.
Instead, Flagler Palm Coast upended the Barracudas in a shootout in the semifinals to face Seabreeze for the title.
But the Sandcrabs took care of business, withstanding a driving rain, and a heady Bulldogs squad to win 3-1 on Jan. 18 at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex to take home the Five Star Conference championship trophy for the third year in a row.
It’s really big because it’s our three-peat, and because we’re trying to keep it going.”
— ANNABEL THISTLE, Seabreeze junior
“It’s really big because it’s our three-peat, and because we’re trying to keep it going,” said Thistle, who scored the Sandcrabs’ first two goals in the game.
Seabreeze coach Eli Freidus said his first goal is for the Sancrabs to be the top team locally. Seabreeze, which finished the regular season with an 8-6-1 playing several highly ranked teams, were tops in the area for the third year in a row with a 5-0-1 record against Volusia-Flagler teams.
Thistle, playing left wing, scored both her goals off assists from Olivia Chase to put the Sandcrabs ahead 2-0.
The Bulldogs (11-9-2) got on the scoreboard before halftime on Isabella Kummernes’ first goal of the season. The sophomore was fourth on the team last year with eight goals but was playing in just her seventh game this season after returning from a preseason injury.
FPC almost tied the score with about 24 minutes left. Seabreeze goalkeeper Chloe Frank made a save on Erin Hughes’ shot that took Frank out of goal, but the Bulldogs’ follow hugged the line before Seabreeze players kicked it away.
“The ball kept going. I was so nervous, but at that point there wasn’t much I could do,” said Thistle, who was watching from about midfield. “Being one up is very dangerous, especially in a tournament like this.”
About 10 minutes later, Kyle Watson scored to give the Sandcrabs an insurance goal.
“She beat like three players,” Freidus said. “She kind of chopped their defense up and scored. It was a nice goal.”
The Bulldogs followed the loss with a 0-0 tie against Merritt Island, the ninth-ranked team in Class 5A, in their regular-season finale on Jan. 19.
FPC was also tied at 0-0 through regulation and two overtime periods with New Smyrna Beach in the Five Star semifinal on Jan. 16. But the Bulldogs beat the ’Cudas 4-3 in a penalty-kick shootout with FPC goalkeeper Natalie Neal making two saves and scoring one of the Bulldogs’ penalty kicks herself.
Neal had 12 saves against the ’Cudas, 14 saves against the Sandcrabs and 10 saves against Merritt Island. She finished the season with nine clean sheets.
FPC will be the second seed in the District 2-7A tournament at Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, and will meet Sanford Seminole or DeLand in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Jan. 26. Seabreeze and Matanzas are the top two seeds, respectively, in the District 5-5A tournament at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex. Both semifinals are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 25. Matanzas will meet Mainland and Seabreeze will face the Pine Ridge-Deltona winner.
The District 5-5A boys tournament will also be at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex with Matanzas, Seabreeze and Mainland seeded first, second and third, respectively. Seabreeze and Mainland will meet in one semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25, while Matanzas will meet the Deltona-Pine Ridge winner in the other semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26.
In the District 2-7A boys tourney, fourth-seeded FPC will host No. 5 DeLand at 6 p.m. Jan. 25. The winner faces No. 1 seed Lake Mary on Jan. 29 at Daytona State.