The Port St. Joe girls soccer team kicked their way to two wins and a tie to end play in December on a high note and improve to 4-3-3 for the season.
On Monday, Dec. 13, senior Rebecca Maddox led the way with six goals and two assists in an 8-0 victory over the Bozeman Bucks.
Fellow senior and team captain Haley Corzine added two goals, and senior Madelyn Gortemoller set up two scores with assists.
Senior goalie Megan Saleh recorded 11 saves to preserve the shutout.
“We still have a lot of games left to play, but as long as we can continue to get better each week, we’ll be in the best possible place (when time for) the district tournament,” said Coach Justin Gerlach.
St. Joe continued the win streak on Wednesday, Dec. 15, with a 5-1 defeat of Franklin County, now 0-8 on the season.
Corzine and junior Jesslyn Kunnel were the only upperclassmen to score, as Gerlach chose to “get some of our younger players involved from watching the game to being in the action.”
In addition to eighth-grader Alexa Pavon’s goal, seventh graders Sadie Burkett and R.J. Gerlach both had successful kicks.
Saleh received some rest time when seventh grader Brooke Peacock replaced her in goal for the final 40 minutes of the contest, earning six saves.
Coach Gerlach said the Tiger Sharks have 10 or 12 underclassmen “who are the next generation of girls Shark soccer and (they) have been working hard in practice.”
“Those players had a great opportunity to play most of the game against Franklin County, knowing their squad was young as well,” he added.
The Sharks faced a much tougher foe on Friday, Dec. 17, and had to overcome a first-half deficit before eventually tying Marianna, 3-3.
The Bulldogs, now 7-4-1, took a 2-1 advantage into halftime, and clung to a 3-2 lead until Maddox scored the tying goal with about five minutes to go, her third score of the game.
Gerlach described the game as “very physical, the intensity seemed to be turned up several levels, both on and off the field. Our team went down early, but we were able to battle back. I think we’ll look back on this game and say we should have played better and possibly come away with a win.”
Earlier that evening, in the final JV game of the season, it was an equally physical contest. “It was great to see those junior varsity players have their best effort and come away with their first win,” said Gerlach.
Anderson Hodges, R.J. Gerlach, and Donna Sosa each scored a goal, and Sadie Burkett added an assist.
The Tiger Sharks will resume action on Monday, Jan. 3, against the 5-3-2 North Bay Haven Buccaneers at Sam Cox Field. Game time will be 5 p.m.