BROOKSVILLE — In the stands you can hear opposing goal keepers on the field: “Watch out for Kennedy! Watch out for Kennedy!”
But so far it hasn’t mattered how much the opposition has watched out for, stalked, shadowed or double teamed Nature Coast Tech sophomore forward Kennedy Weissman.
Inevitably, and quickly, Weissman scores and scores and scores.
Through the season’s first 11 games, Weissman racked up a state-leading 41 goals, twice scoring six in a game and three times scoring five. She also chipped in 10 assists, adding up to a state-best 92 points, or 42 ahead of the next closest player, Andrea Pelfrey of Baker County. Weissman’s 41 goals, by the way, lead the state’s next closest player, Suncoast High’s Guilianna Johnston, by 18.
Weissman, however, is quick to say, “The goals are not all about me.”
She says she is the by-product of a great group of teammates all over the field — including keepers Talia Nowlan and Kirsten Lavallee (who also plays in the field), midfielders MaKaylee Buratczuk, Alexandrea Florkowski and Riana McAdam and forwards Mia DeRonda and Del’Nikquwa Edwards and freshman Briana Seaman — who time and again set Weissman up to bury goals.
“None of this happens without all of them,” Weissman emphasizes. “I couldn’t dribble through everybody by myself and score all of those goals. That would be impossible.”
This is not to say Weissman isn’t exceptional, because so far she has been faster, stronger and has had better instincts than anyone in any game.
It’s just that Weissman happens to be on a team that is hitting on all cylinders, hence Nature Coast’s 11-0 record (as of Tuesday) with 75 goals scored against only two allowed.
“Everything has come together this season and that is because of a total team effort,” said third-year coach Brandon Chitwood, who went 10-8-2 and 17-5-2 in his first two seasons. “If you come in here thinking if we stop Kennedy Weissman then we stop Nature Coast, then you’re going to have a bad night. If you focus on Kennedy then we’ll just get the ball to somebody else. We have that ability to adjust.”
Weissman is totally down with that sentiment.
“I don’t think about how many goals I’m going to score,” said Weissman, a straight-A student who also competes full-time on the weight-lifting team and for the track team in the spring. “I think about what we need to do to win the game. Helping the team win, that’s it.”
And, of course, having fun along the way, which is evident every time the Sharks ride home on the bus.
“We do sing pretty loud,” Weissman said of the 20-girl roster that features no starting seniors. “Many of us have known each other for years and now that we’re playing together for the high school team, we are really enjoying every moment.”
Weissman and Chitwood said they wouldn’t count anything out, but at the same time they think first things first, which means the next practice and the next game and so on.
“We still have a lot of games to play,” Chitwood said.
State record for goals scored in a season?
Also a long way to go.
According to the Orlando Sentinel’s Buddy Collings, who keeps track of such things, Satellite’s Andi Sellers set the state single-season scoring mark at 95 in the 1995-96 season. On the Tampa Bay area scene, Clearwater Central Catholic’s Robin Confer is believed to hold the record at 80 goals, a total accrued in the 1993-94 season.