Niceville Girls Soccer Grapples with Setback Against South Walton: Absence Alters Game Dynamics

Although the air was chilly and the rainfall was persistent, Eagle fans gathered at Twin Oaks fields on Monday to cheer on the girl’s soccer team as they faced a challenging rival, South Walton High School.

Last season, the teams met on the pitch twice. The first resulted in a 2-0 win for Niceville, and the second ended in a 1-0 win for South Walton. 

With the Eagles and the Seahawks possessing talented rosters this year, the game’s results could have gone in either team’s favor. 

However, during this season’s faceoff against South Walton, one of Niceville’s key playmakers and goal scorers, Jezlyn Nelson was absent, causing the team to experiment with new formations and lineups.

Just 3 minutes after the game kicked off, the Seahawks gained possession of the ball and moved down the sideline with speed, resulting in the night’s first goal. 33 minutes later, South Walton’s Aliza

Mannon scored a goal from a breakaway, leaving the scoreboard displaying a 2-0 lead for the Seahawks.

The second half of the game consisted of good possession of the ball from both teams, but the Seahawk forwards were quick to pick up on any small mistakes made by the Eagle defense, allowing for the night’s final goal by South Walton’s Aliza Mannon. With the game ending in a 3-0 shutout win for South Walton, the Eagles suffered their first loss of the season.

“Overall we played fairly well. It’s just that we [are] playing against a good, organized team, and if you make a mistake you get punished,’ said Coach José Fernandez, “they are really good at countering and finding the good players up top and that costs us.”

Coach Fernandez added, “It was the almost in every way. We almost scored,” he paused, “we almost made a final pass, we almost did, and then they counter, and [we] gave up a goal or gave up a shot.”

November 15th, the Niceville girls’ soccer team will travel to Pace High School (2-1-1) to go head-to-head with the Patriots before taking a bye week to enjoy Thanksgiving break.

After the break, the Eagles will travel to West Florida to take on a West Florida team looking for their first win of the year. 

The Eagles will wrap up November with their first district contest against Mosley (1-1). 

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