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Coaches yelled directions from the sideline as small, single-engine planes flew overhead, taking off nearby from the Ormond Beach Municipal Airport.
On the field, the Seabreeze and Matanzas girls soccer teams played to a 0-0 tie, at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex, in a game both coaches thought their teams should have taken.
“It was tough,” Matanzas coach Tony Benvenuto said after the game. “I’m really upset with them, because I didn’t think they gave me a good effort (in) that first half. We could have won the game, but we gave them 40 minutes.”
Seabreeze controlled much of the first half, converting 101 quality passes and only attempting 15 bad passes. But the momentum swung the other way in the latter part of the game.
“I think they started to win a lot of balls in the middle of the field,” Seabreeze coach Frank O’Donnell said. “Going into the second half, we weren’t as successful passing the ball.”
O’Donnell said his team converted only 83 quality passes in the second half, compared to attempting 17 bad passes.
In the first half, juniors Annie Gelnaw and Kayla Merkel provided the pressure for Seabreeze.
Gelnaw’s first shot, which came roughly 10 minutes into the game, sailed high and to the right. She had a few more opportunities in the opening half but, like both teams, was unable convert.
“We need to work up into the top third of the field,” O’Donnell said, “so we can get scoring chances and get the ball into the net.”
Fewer Seabreeze scoring chances in the second half was a result of a Matanzas adjustment, which led to more sustained offensive possessions and opportunities for goal scorers, like Gabbi Paiz.
“In the first half, we were very sluggish,” Benvenuto said. “I went to a 4-3-3 in the second half, and I don’t think they adjusted.”
He also said his team was hurt by the noon start — usually, they play at night. But without any day games remaining on the schedule, that’s not an issue Benvenuto’s team will have to face again.
The big adjustment for Seabreeze came before the game. With O’Donnell trying to improve the communication between his defenders, he switched to a single defender playing a role similar to a free safety in football, watching for any streaking offensive players.
“We changed the lineup today,” O’Donnell said. “We changed some personnel where we thought we weren’t getting the physical presence in the middle of the field. … I got what I wanted, except the goals.”
With the tie, Seabreeze moved to 8-1-3 on the season. For Matanzas, the result wasn’t what they wanted, but it breaks a trend.
“We’ve had two consecutive losses,” Benvenuto said. “The strategy (today) was to try and get on a winning streak.”
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