DELAND ― After years of frustration in regionals and the state tournament, Shorecrest Prep is finally a state champion.
On a picture-perfect Thursday afternoon none of the players will forget, the Chargers defeated Tallahassee Maclay 4-0 in the Class 2A championship at Stetson University’s Spec Martin Stadium. It is the school’s first state soccer title and caps an 18-3-2 season. Maclay, ranked fourth in Florida and seventh nationally by MaxPreps, ends the season 22-1.
“Final step," senior forward Max Consoni said. “It’s my final year so it’s a good way to go out. We’ve been working for this for three years.’’
Shorecrest, which is ranked 16th in the state, lost last year’s state championship game 2-1 to Palmer Trinity. The year before that they lost 1-0 to Maclay in the state semifinals. They were determined not to let this season end in disappointment. And they were also prepared.
Having played Maclay two years ago, the Chargers knew to expect a fast-break attack to start the game. The plan was to survive the push, then start to counterattack. Shorecrest’s defense, which ended the season with seven straight shutouts, held up. And sure enough, the Chargers were able to change the momentum.
“We saw that they come out flying," senior forward Asher Rovin said. “The only way to beat that is to not match the intensity but beat it. We came out as hard as we could."
The result was two first-half goals.
The first came in the 17th minute. Turner Bramlet spotted an open Consoni 20 yards from goal and fed a perfect pass. Consoni was able to dribble past the Maclay keeper and get off a left-footer. The ball rolled slowly into the lower left corner for a 1-0 lead.
“Getting that first goal was huge," Consoni said. “It shuts down all of their momentum."
Maclay nearly scored in the 23rd minute when Alexander Guzman ripped a shot off the crossbar from 20 yards. Then six minutes later, the Chargers were on the board again.
With the Marauders attacking in front of the Shorecrest goal, Chargers defenders were just trying to clear the ball away. A clearance attempt was settled by Rovin just beyond midfield in the 29th minute. Rovin took it from there.
He outworked two defenders to break free about 30 yards from goal. He then faked out the goalkeeper and found himself all alone in front of the goal about 15 yards out. He tapped in the shot to make it 2-0.
“It’s a state championship game so I’m going as hard as I can," said Rovin, who missed most of the regular season with a concussion. “I got the ball at my feet. I’d been envisioning all week about what I would do in that situation. I had a chance like that last week and it didn’t work."
Maclay stepped up the offensive pressure in the second half, but it was the Chargers who found the net. In the 50th minute, Consoni got free in the box and drew defenders. He passed to Jon Shehu, who one-timed a shot from 5 yards to make it 3-0.
Jason Montoya, in his third year as head coach, said that goal may have been the biggest in the match.
“I didn’t say this to them, but in my head I knew that whoever got the next goal determines the game," Montoya said. “If they get it, it changes momentum. If we get it, it’s going to be really tough for (Maclay) to come back."
It became 4-0 seven minutes later when Rovin crossed a ball right in front of the goal. Consoni got a head on it and redirected it into the net.
From there, Shorecrest finished off the game and got their well-earned championship medals.
“We’ve been working for four years," senior defender Sam Idinge said. “We’re the first. We’ve set a record that can’t be broken."