Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Eagles Are Soaring in Soccer

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Eagles Are Soaring in Soccer

Article excerpt

Byline: Brent Beaird

The Fleming Island High School boys soccer team (5-1) has gotten off to a hot start going into the Thanksgiving week. The only loss was to an unbeaten Orange Park High team Monday night by a score of 2-0.

Last season, the Golden Eagles (15-7-5) advanced to the regional semifinals before losing to Tallahassee Lincoln. Fleming Island finished as 3-5A district runners-up to Wolfson, a final four team.

Despite the defeat, Golden Eagle Coach Frank Pontore is pleased with the way his team in developing.

"Except for the Orange Park game, we've been putting the ball in the back of the net," Pontore said. "We are developing as a unit and we are a little deeper on our bench."

Pontore said he has seven seniors that he is relying on to provide leadership including the nucleus of forward/midfielder Ryan Locke, midfielder/defender Josh Andone and goal keeper Matt Urbano, all four-year starters.

Several younger players such as sophomores Matt Cooksey, Brennan Hyler and Jeremy Urbano, Matt's brother, have shown plenty of potential.

Urbano has been solid allowing only three goals in six games.

"Matt Urbano has been a phenomenal goalkeeper," Pontore said. "He has had some beautiful saves. He is the heart and soul of the team and an important senior leader."

Locke said the strength of the team has been leadership and defense.

"We're playing together as a team with our seniors leading us," Locke said. "The two goals we gave up to Orange Park didn't show our typical team defense."

Adone said his teammates have played well in the first part of the season.

"We're not brutes in the back, but we have skilled players," Adone said. "Matt [Urbano], up until the Orange Park game, has been flawless."

Pontore expects Wolfson to be the team to beat again this season in district. With that in mind, Pontore has scheduled teams such as Mandarin, Bolles and Orange Park to prepare the Golden Eagles for the district tournament.

Fleming Island plays at Terry Parker Monday. The return match with Orange Park is Dec. 5. Pontore said this time of year is difficult in trying to balance time for practice and studying for exams. …

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