The 2019 Samuel P. Haven National High School Soccer Championships came to a climax this past Saturday over in New Providence.
While the GBSSAA Mary and Donnie Knowles High School Soccer League senior boys champions, the Tabernacle Falcons fell short of reaching their national championship game, the Lady Falcons advanced past the C.R Walker Knights this past Thursday night, May 9, to take on the Lyford Cay Dragons for the senior girls national championship Saturday, May 11. The Dragons proved why they were the heavy favorites to come out on top as national champions after they defeated the Lady Falcons 6-1 that evening.
Lyford Cay’s Paige Smith’s fingerprints were all over the Dragons’ victory. The eventual Most Valuable Player scored four of the Dragons’ goals in the 12th, 51st, 65th and 73rd minutes of the championship contest. Veronica Miranda chipped in with two goals of her own which came in the 32nd and 60th minutes of competition.
The Falcons’ only goal was scored by Janeka Edey.
Despite a lopsided loss Falcons’ head coach Floid Giddengs remained optimistic about their nationals experience by congratulating his girls on a job well done. With such a short turn around between the local senior high school championships here in Grand Bahama and the national championships over in New Providence he was pleased to see the girls take on the challenge and play valiantly the way they did.
“I feel to get to this point is a great achievement for us,” he voiced, “The girls may be disappointed but I feel they did well. The fact is we never really trained together. The only time we started to do a little bit of training was after we won the finals in Grand Bahama and there wasn’t enough time to continue that training. So I applaud the girls for a job well done.”
With a lack of aggression on the defensive end of the ball, Giddengs cited that as the catalyst for the Dragons’ momentum throughout the contest. After taking note of the level of competition experienced in the nation’s capital, he believes that the girls must become more active in the Grand Bahama Champions Soccer League to further development their skills.
“We had some blunders here and there and we were giving them too much space. They (the Dragons) had enough time to turn and to shoot and that was our problem.
“Except for four of our girls, none of them play club soccer (Champions League). So the match was unevenly balanced but we did our best. We have to get our girls more touches. The girls have to play more and we have to get them involved in more clubs. I’ve tried in the past to get them more involved but this year they showed a lot of interest and that’s why we had 18 girls on the roster.
“We came this far but we were out-played and that’s alright.”
As for the Falcons’ senior boys, they were left to play for third place after they fell to the C.R. Walker Knights in Thursday’s semifinal. They moved on to play the Aquina’s Aces in the consolation contest on Saturday but lost 5-2, finished in fourth for the second-straight year.
The Falcons’ Anthon Russell scored their first goal in the 25th minute of play, while team captain Keano Miller scored their final goal of the competition in the 75th minute.
Jordan Freemantle and TaKeyo Poitier scored two goals each in the Aces’ third place victory, while Resean Rolle chipped in with a goal of his own.
The Lyford Cay Dragons eventually knocked off the Knights in the senior boys national championship by a final score of 5-4.