Also in the Observer: Halliday named finalist for National Coach of the Year; Matanzas' Novak steps down as softball coach; FPC boys basketball honors community members.
On the night of Thursday, Jan. 18, the Bulldogs' girls soccer team finally got its long-awaited revenge against rival Spruce Creek, who beat the Bulldogs earlier in the season.
The Bulldogs almost pitched a shutout against the Hawks, knocking off their district foes 2-1 at Flagler Palm Coast High School. FPC's Brittany Murphy scored the first goal of the game on a header midway through the first half. Senior and team captain Saba Amiri found herself wide open for what proved to be the winning goal early in the second half.
Spruce Creek's Jordan Di Verniero scored the Hawks' lone goal on a penalty kick with 10 minutes left in the game. But other than that, the Hawks had a difficult time getting shots on-goal against the Bulldogs' stifling defense.
“It was tough from the start, but I think we played pretty well until the penalty kick,” defender Jade Louis-Juene said. “I think we were more fired up for this game.”
The Bulldogs play their district semifinal match against DeLand on Wednesday, Jan. 24, after having a bye for the first game.
FPC's Dave Halliday named one of eight finalists for Boys Track and Field National Coach of the Year
Dave Halliday, the head coach for FPC’s cross country and track and field teams, was named one of eight finalists for the Boys Track and Field National Coach of the Year.
Halliday, who took over the program at FPC in 2004, has compiled a massive list of accomplishments with the Bulldogs, including four team state championships, two team state runner-ups and nine total top-five team state finishes. Halliday also coached 16 All-Americans and 66 future collegians.
Halliday is the winningest coach in any sport in Flagler County history.
Matanzas' softball coach steps down
Matanzas’ Sara Novak announced Monday, Jan. 22, that she was stepping down as the head coach of the Pirates’ softball team after 13 seasons, according to an email sent by Novak.
Novak, who was with the softball program since its inception, wrote that her new leadership roles and added responsibilities at the school, coupled with her desire to one day become an assistant principal, fueled her decision to step down from the team.
In addition to her duties with softball, Novak was also a dean at Matanzas, as well as the head coach of the girls weightlifting team.
“I am feeling really thankful and humble for all the memories that were created on and off the field,” Novak wrote. “I also feel sad, but I am relieved because I know I made the right decision. This was one of the hardest decisions in my life I have had to make.. . I want to thank all my past players, my past parents, all the coaches, teachers and staff I ever worked with or played against and even all the umpires that grew to love me… lol. I could of not done it without your help.”
Bulldogs honor community members at basketball game
At halftime in FPC's boys basketball team's game against DeLand on Tuesday, Jan. 16, the Bulldogs recognized this year's "U Make A Difference" individuals: Colleen Conklin, Veronica Vigo, Ria Geary, Arnold Anthony, Calvin Grant and Juliet Harris. Participants received a certificate and a standing ovation.
“There is absolutely nothing greater than giving of yourself to help others," FPC coach Gary McDaniel said. "It is an honor and privilege to have them on our team.”