Abbey Kuritz Kicks the ball into play during Niceville's 3-0 defeat of the Fort Walton Beach Vikings.

On Monday Eagle fans dawned their cold weather attire and packed the stands of Twin Oaks fields to support the Niceville girls’ soccer team as they went head-to-head with Fort Walton Beach High School.

The matchup would prove to be a test of endurance for the Eagles, as the majority of their players have racked up nine or ten games over the past few weeks due to an overlap between high school and club soccer seasons.

At 7 pm, the referee’s whistle sounded, and the game was underway. It was evident almost immediately that a high-volume match schedule would not impair the Eagle’s speed and intensity of play. Just twelve minutes after kickoff, Niceville’s Airiana Jerz found the back of the net,

resulting in the game’s first point being added to the scoreboard. 

The remaining 28 minutes of the 1st half saw two more goals for the Eagles. Katelyn Tomaschko struck first, quickly followed by Jezlyn Nelson. As the game clock expired, signaling half-time, the Eagles held a comfortable lead of 3-0 over the Vikings.

The second half of the match saw both teams maintain an aggressive speed of play, however, the score remained at 3-0 for the remainder of the game. 

With 20 minutes remaining on the game clock, Niceville substituted their starting goalkeeper, Chloe Aldrich, with Shelby Plasier

Plasier saved all three shots from the Vikings that came her way.

When the referee sounded the final whistle, the Eagles’ persistent attack totaled seventeen shots and three goals.

Throughout the game, there were frequent substitutions, with nearly every uninjured player on the roster getting playing time, a plan of action devised by Coach Kelly Fernandez to avoid injuries caused by overworking the athletes. 

Freshman Eden Wise stepped on the field and took over the center-back role for Brynn Buelow. Buelow picked up an injury over the weekend. Wise exceeded all expectations and seamlessly held the back line together, giving way for a shutout win.

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