Titans Third Overall Seed In Upcoming NJCAA Tourney
By Mark DeCotis, Eastern Florida // November 16, 2014
tourney begins Monday on Melbourne Campus
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Two years ago Eastern Florida State College women’s soccer head coach Jeff Carr greeted a freshmen-laden team at its first practice.
Defying expectations that team roared through a 12-1 regular season that included a No. 1 national ranking and played all the way to the NJCAA national final where it lost 3-0.
This year the cycle repeated itself as the Titans returned only three sophomores and Carr leaned heavily on 19 freshmen.
And this year’s team roared through the regular season with an 11-1 record, is ranked third nationally and reached the national tournament for the third straight time.
The tournament begins Monday on the Melbourne Campus. Eastern Florida is the third overall seed and the top seed in its pool. It plays St. Charles Community College, Cottleville, Missouri, 15-4, at 7 p.m. Monday and Darton State College, Albany, Georgia, 16-2, at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The four pool winners advance to Friday’s semifinals. While this Titans team has the talent necessary to reach the tournament it also is rich in intangibles.
“We couldn’t have done it without the chemistry we have this year,” freshman defender Mariah Lewis of Viera and Viera High said of reaching nationals.
“This is one of the closest teams that I’ve ever been on and I’ve been on some close teams.”
Lewis’ classmate and fellow defender Haley Cook of Satellite Beach and Satellite High echoed her sentiments.
“The first day we all met we had a pasta dinner and we all sat around and told stories about everything and got the feel of each other,” Cook said.
“Everyone being in the apartments (where many EFSC athletes live), everyone kind of bonded that way. We all have a lot of things in common.”
Carr sees it that way as well.
“Everyone is so unselfish,” he said. “Everyone does not really care about individual goals or assists or who gets the glory. They just care about each other and the end result.
“That really excites me. I’ve said this over and over again, the players alluded to it as well. This is the closest team I’ve ever coached on any level. Period. And I’ve coached a long time.
“They are all on the same page, they all have the same goals for the team. That’s all that really matters to them is the team.”
A big part of the team has been EFSC’s defense which has allowed only eight goals in 13 games with three being the most in one game, a 3-2 loss at Tyler Junior College on Oct. 17. Carr acknowledged the back line’s contributions.
“(Sophomore) Sam (Solis) anchoring it at center back, she deserves a ton of credit because she moved from left back to center back,” Carr said.
“She’s done a tremendous job. (Freshman) Serena (Delgado) has played center back and Haley’s played center back and (freshman) Arnela (Cordic) and Mariah have been the consistent ones on the outside. They’re kind of the unsung heroes of our team.”
“And then of course two of our three keepers have played significant time. Our back four and our keepers are definitely a key to our success.”
The keepers freshmen Asmara Holmes and Denise Rodriguez split playing time. Holmes allowed seven goals in 747 minutes in 13 games for a 0.84 goals against average. Rodriguez allowed one goal in 420 minutes in nine games for a 0.21 average. Freshman Riley Greer played 20 scoreless minutes in one game.
Holmes had 36 saves and a .837 save percentage. Rodriguez had 14 saves and a .933 percentage. Offensively the Titans have been a force as well, scoring 49 goals, the most being nine in their season-opening 9-0 victory over Broward College.
Region 8 Co-Most Valuable Player, midfielder and sophomore co-captain Jamie Perriello led EFSC in goals with 11 including game winners against Navarro College and Region 8 foe Polk State College. She added three assists.
Freshman midfielder and Region 8 Co-MVP Abbie Camargo scored 10 goals and recorded a school-record 15 assists. Freshman Kassidee Davis was second-highest in assists with seven.
Camargo’s twin sister Bri, a midfielder who played just six games due to a mid-season foot injury, scored eight goals and notched five assists. Fifteen Titans scored while 13 recorded assists. EFSC was ranked ninth nationally in shots with 369 and was third in shots per game at 28.4. It was 18th in corner kicks with 85 and second in penalty kicks, converting all three.
Needless to say the players, especially the locals, are excited about the chance to not only play in the tournament but to do it at home.
“I’ve been given an opportunity that not many people have been given and I know that we all need to take advantage of it because once it’s over we either are going to look back and be like we really took advantage of that opportunity,” said midfielder and forward Kayla Washabaugh of Palm Bay, Florida and Palm Bay High.
”I just don’t want to have any regrets and I want to know that we really took advantage.”