Shark soccer girls win big on Senior Night

The Port St. Joe girls soccer team celebrated Senior Night in a big way, racing to a 9-1 romp over the Rutherford Rams behind Rebecca Maddox’s five goals last Tuesday, Jan. 18 at Sam Cox Field. 

The eight seniors on the squad are Kristen Bouington, Haley Corzine, Maddie Gortemoller, Laura Beth Hill, Maddox, Morgan Mills, Megan Saleh, and London White. 

Although Saleh was back in goal after missing two games, Gortemoller remained on the sideline as a precaution against further injury to her knee, but the rest of the team more than made up for her absence. 

White set up the first goal with her pass to Maddox, who notched her first goal of the game with only five minutes off the clock. 

Barely five minutes later, R. J. Gerlach’s goal increased the Shark lead to 2-0, and the talented seventh grader added a celebratory twist with a nifty cartwheel after her score. 

Not to be outdone, Corzine not only followed with her own goal two minutes later, but showed off her gymnastics prowess with her own cartwheel after her successful kick. 

White added her second assist with a pass to junior Jesslyn Kunnel midway through the first half to increase the Shark lead to 4-0, which quickly became 5-0 after Maddox kicked her second goal of the night. 

A St. Joe foul at the 19:00 mark allowed the Rams a chance to score on a penalty kick, but Saleh’s successful block and an errant rebound kick preserved the shutout. 

Shortly after the half, Gerlach set Maddox up for her third score of the game to increase the lead to 6-0. Three minutes later, Kunnel’s assist allowed White to score the seventh Shark goal of the night. 

Midway through the second half, Rutherford finally broke into the scoring column after a successful corner kick, but just a few seconds later Maddox showed off her skills with a series of moves that culminated in her fourth score of the night. 

A mere minute and a half later, Maddox ended the game under the mercy rule when her kick made the score 9-1 with 19:00 showing on the clock. Game over. 

The win brought the Tiger Shark record to 6-5-4, while Rutherford remained winless at 0-6-2. 

Coach Justin Gerlach was “happy our seniors were able to celebrate and play well on their senior night. The hope is to create momentum going into our district tournament and beyond.” 

The Shark regular season ended on a cold and rainy Friday night last week with a disappointing 1-1 tie against the Freeport Bulldogs.

Although St. Joe carried a 1-0 lead into halftime behind Maddox’s 25th goal of the season, Freeport tied the score in the second half and the game saw no further scoring. 

The tie proved especially disappointing, since St. Joe had earlier defeated the Bulldogs 6-0 barely a month ago on December 10. 

“Our performance and composure on the field could have been a lot better (but) their goal keeper was impressive (doing) her job.” 

The Sharks ended the regular season with a 6-5-5 record, but should retain their number one seed in Class 2A District 1 going into the district tournament, which will kick off at home on Thursday, Jan. 27 at 5 p.m 

“It appears we will face Franklin County in the district semifinals, and hopefully the winner of Rocky Bayou and Monroe on Friday,” said Gerlach. “The championship game will be on Monday, Jan. 31 at 5 p.m.” 

Freeport now has a season record of 9-5-3, and is the number one seed in 3A D1.

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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