Port St. Joe soccer teams open challenging season

As reported in a previous story, Port St. Joe boys head coach Brian Burkett expected this to be “one of the most challenging seasons” that the Tiger Sharks had ever had, and the early contests have confirmed that notion. 

On Tuesday, November 1 at a pre-season jamboree in Crawfordville, Burkett’s squad took on 4A Wakulla, now 4-0-1, and lost by a respectable 1-0 score after holding the War Eagles scoreless for the first half. 

Junior goalkeeper Fisher Vandertulip recorded 13 saves during the contest. 

In the first regular season match the following Tuesday, St. Joe pushed across two goals in each half and cruised to a 4-0 win against the 3A Taylor County Bulldogs, now 0-3. 

Jaydon Gant led the way with three goals, while Lance Larry kicked in his first goal of the season. Other Tiger Shark notables included Christian Peacock with an assist and Estevan Angel with five steals. In goal, Vandertulip kept the Bulldogs scoreless with his six saves. 

Thursday’s scheduled contest against Jefferson County was postponed due to the remnants of Hurricane Nicole moving through the area with her wind and rain. 

On Saturday, November 12, 4A Bay High School handed the Tiger Sharks a disappointing 5-1 defeat in the home opener. 

Scoring twice in the first half and three more times in the second, the Tornadoes improved to 2-0, while St. Joe evened its regular season record at 1-1. 

Taylor Burkett pushed across the lone score for St. Joe in the first half, while Vandertulip and Ashton Lakey each tended the goal for a half. Vandertulip allowed two scores in nine Bay attempts, while Lakey gave up the remaining three goals, including a penalty kick. 

The Tiger Sharks play Bozeman on Tuesday, November 15, before traveling to North Bay Haven on Thursday, November 17. 

Port St. Joe Girls Soccer 

Going into the season opener, Shark head coach Justin Gerlach knew that their difficult schedule would present challenges for his youthful squad, especially in the early matches until the team found their footing.

In the first match, St. Joe held Taylor County scoreless for the first half before the Bulldogs broke the deadlock with two second half goals on their way to a 2-0 win over the Lady Tiger Sharks. 

“The game could have easily been 2-0 the other way,” said Gerlach. 

At the home opener on Saturday against Bay, freshman Alexa Pavon and sophomore Hailyn Levins each scored for the Tiger Sharks, but Bay prevailed by a 4-2 margin. 

“To Bay’s credit,” said Gerlach, “they were well coached and had a really talented forward who took (advantage) of a number of mistakes we made.”

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