By Martie Thompson

The Creekside girls’ soccer team defeated Cypress Bay at the FHSAA Class 7A State Championships in Deland on Feb. 25 to earn its first state title. According to the team’s head coach, Joe Soto, the team had a good regular season in terms of results, but really came together as a team late in the season — which served them well in the playoffs.

“They wanted this one badly,” he said. “I’m so proud of how they rallied around each other and got what they deserved.”

Havana Printing 904-447-5021

Soto isn’t the only one who noticed the building of the team’s camaraderie during the season. Sophomore midfielder Lily Pierce said her favorite part of being on the team this year was being a part of the special bond all of the players had.

“This season we all came together and were playing for us as a whole rather than our individual selves, which created an amazing atmosphere that everyone could feel every time we took the field,” she said.

Soto, in his first year as head coach at Creekside, was formerly an assistant coach at Bartram Trail and was with that team for two previous state championships. Soto said that given the proximity of the two schools, the players on both teams know each other well and in fact often play club soccer together. 

This year, Creekside had lost to Bartram Trail in the regular season and also in the District finals game. Fortunately, as the number two team in the district, the Knights still advanced to the Regionals — where they had to play the Bears again in the semifinals.

“We knew the game against Bartram would be our toughest game,” Soto said. “Our team played so unbelievably hard. They outplayed Bartram, the two-time defending state champs, and won 3 – 2.”

After that, it was a win against Lake Brantley in the Regional finals and then a trip to the state final four. First, they won a home game against Palm Harbor University (high school) before the state championship win against Cypress Bay. 

Avery Robinson, a sophomore center midfielder who scored two of the three goals in the championship victory, credited her teammates for the success.

“I think I helped the team win the state championship by creating chances and finishing them,” Robinson said, “but honestly, I couldn’t have scored the goals without my teammates. All the goals I’ve scored this season have just been a product of my amazing teammates.”

Soto believes that the team’s success this year was his philosophy of hard work at practice, but then giving the players the freedom to play during games. Despite a rough patch during the regular season, the team rallied and put the work in, especially after the loss to Bartram in the District final.

“That was a turning point,” Soto said. “I’m so impressed with the way they came together. We always knew they had the talent.”

Photo courtesy Lara Pierce
The Creekside Knights girls’ soccer team after its state championship victory.

  • Advertise in our May Issue The Creek Line
  • Havana Printing 904-447-5021