Also in the Observer: Holder wins "Most Outstanding" at Rotary Invitational; Matanzas boys soccer on hot streak; Pirates boys basketball loses to Clay; FPC boys basketball in midst of three-game losing streak.
After 11 years with the program, the Pirates’ Tony Benvenuto is stepping down as head coach of Matanzas’ girls soccer team.
Benvenuto was surprised when former players showed up to honor him before the Pirates’ Senior Night game on Jan. 19 — a game the Pirates won 9-4 over Crescent City.
A couple of his former players wrote letters to him, Benvenuto said.
“My reason to get into coaching was that I love soccer. I wanted to teach the game. But most of all, I wanted to teach life lessons to the young men and women who came through the program,” he said. “Certain things were said in these letters that were a kind of confirmation of what my purpose was as a coach.”
Benvenuto said he had been thinking about retiring from coaching for the past few years. He plans to continue to teach Spanish and Italian at the school for the next three-to-four years.
Benvenuto brought on assistant coach Rodney Perry and groomed him to take over the role of head coach the following season.
Benvenuto said his main goal was to make a difference in the lives of the kids he coached.
“Not so much with trophies and victories, but with winning in life,” he said. “That’s what I take it all back to.”
Holder wins "Most Outstanding" at Rotary Invitational
The Flagler Palm Coast wrestling team competed in the 32nd-annual Flagler County Rotary Invitational on Jan. 26 and Jan. 27 at FPC High School, finishing in fourth place as a team out of 30 schools.
First-place finishers: John Johnson (113) and Avery Holder (132).
Second-place finishers: Mike Martins (145) and Tyler Irigoyen (220).
Third-place finishers: Curtis Brock (152).
Holder was presented with the “Outstanding Wrestler Award” for his actions in the tournament.
Matanzas boys soccer on hot streak
The Pirates' boys soccer team is on a roll. Following their 5-1 win over Orange Park in the first round of the district playoffs on Jan. 29, the Pirates have won their last five games in a row. The Pirates opened the game with two goals and held Orange Park scoreless. Orange Park scored its lone goal in the second half, while Matanzas tacked on an additional three scores.
Pirates boys basketball loses to Clay
The Pirates' boys basketball team's up-and-down season continues. The Pirates lost to Clay 48-41 on Jan. 23 at Clay High School to drop to 11-8 on the season. The loss comes after a two-game win streak by Matanzas, which hasn't been able to string more than three wins in a row this season.
FPC boys basketball in midst of three-game losing streak
The Bulldogs' boys basketball team is now below .500 after losing its last three games. In those games, the Bulldogs failed to score more than 45 points and scored under 40 points twice. FPC is 8-9 on the season after its latest loss: a 57-45 defeat at the hands of Palatka at Palatka High School. It was the Bulldogs' closest final score since their last win: a 55-53 nail-biter over Lyman on Jan. 15 in the MLK Classic.