Three Brevard County high school soccer teams will take their shots at state championships this week on consecutive days, and West Shore is up first on Thursday afternoon.
The Wildcats (19-4) play at 4 p.m. against Tampa Berkeley Prep at Spec Martin Stadium in DeLand for the Class 2A title. It’s a rematch of the 2012 final, when West Shore beat the Buccaneers in double overtime, 3-2.
This year’s Berkeley Prep team, which is 20-3, includes North Carolina commitment Ezrick Nicholls (six goals) and a freshman, J.T. Copper, who leads the team in scoring (23 goals, 15 assists). West Shore’s scoring leaders are Amugo Chukwunenye (17 goals) and Chase Hester (12 assists). Nick Burgess signed with North Florida on Feb. 1.
Wildcats coach Bob Robidoux pointed out his team has been able to defend well against prolific scorers in recent games. In fact, West Shore has shut out its last three opponents.
And though the title game comes six days after his team’s last outing, Robidoux isn’t bothered by the layoff.
“We had some guys banged up, so it’s given us some time to heal up,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with it. We had a really strong practice on Monday.”
Merritt Island’s Class 3A teams both play 10 a.m. games, the girls against 16-5 Jacksonville Stanton on Friday. Five Merritt Island girls have scored 10 goals or more. The Blue Devils are making their first appearance in a girls final and are led by Imani Ashman, who has scored 26 goals.
The Mustangs (21-0-1) had to go on the road Friday for their state semifinal to beat four-time defending champion Plantation American Heritage, 2-0
, a team that has been a postseason nemesis. The week to recover could be a benefit.
“Especially playing a team like American Heritage,” coach Scott Carswell said. “It gives you a chance, after having to use so much emotion and playing such a physical game, to have time to recover.”
The Merritt Island boys, 21-1, also won a 2-0 road semifinal, at Immokalee. They’ll play Saturday morning against Daytona Beach Seabreeze, also 21-1.
Sixteen of 19 Sandcrabs have scored goals this season. The top-scoring Mustangs are Jose Portillo (25 goals and 10 assists) and Cameron Michaels (23, 18).
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State soccer championships in DeLand
Class 2A boys: West Shore vs. Berkeley Prep, 4 p.m.
Class 3A girls: Merritt Island vs. Stanton, 10 a.m.
Class 3A boys: Merritt Island vs. Seabreeze, 10