Montverde out of title contention
Montverde Academy will not defend its Florida High School Athletic Association girls soccer state championship this season.
After reaching the Class 2A title game in 2017 and winning backto-back 4A state titles the past two years, Montverde’s program is in search of new goals while moving forward as an independent.
“I think it was more of an administration decision,” Montverde coach Robbie Aristodemo said. “But now we’re looking for the next challenge. My goal has always been to try to keep high school soccer relevant because there’s just nothing like it compared to the club game.”
The Eagles (4-0-0) follow the path of other elite programs at the school, including boys basketball, boys soccer and baseball, that compete as members of the Florida High School Athletic Association but do not participate in FHSAA state playoffs.
Montverde will host some of the top high school teams in the state Friday and Saturday during its seventh annual Women’s Invitational Showcase Tournament. The 14-team event includes defending 2A champion Jacksonville Bolles and 1A champ St. Johns Country Day of Orange Park.
The Eagles entered Tuesday’s game against Auburndale (1-2-1) riding a 37-match win streak since losing 4-1 at St. Johns Country Day on Dec. 15, 2017. That includes a current run of 17 consecutive shutouts.
The Eagles, ranked No. 1 in the state by TopDrawerSoccer.com, face No. 13 Bolles (4-2-0) on Friday at 8 p.m. and No. 3 St. Johns Bartram Trail (5-0-0) on Saturday at 5 p.m.
“The idea is to have 20 to 30 college coaches come out to watch the girls and give them opportunities to get exposed,” said Aristodemo, who needs just four wins to reach 150 for his career. “And for us, we’re always looking to try to play the better teams in the state to help push our younger players to get better.”
Aristodemo entered his ninth year with the Eagles sporting a 142-19-4 record. Montverde competed as an independent during its first five seasons before joining FHSAA play in 2016-17.
Jody Brown is one of five seniors and six returning starters on a team that went 23-0-0 last season. Brown, a Florida State commit who played for the Jamaican women’s national team in the 2019 FIFA World Cup, was named Orlando Sentinel player of the year in 2018-19. Senior defender Vivianne Bessette and junior midfielder Maria Tregansin were also named to the all-area first team.
State ranked: Seminole County rivals Lake Mary (3-0-1) and Oviedo (2-0-3) played to a 1-1 draw on Nov. 20. They join Montverde in the Top Drawer state rankings this week at No. 10 and No. 11, respectively.
The Rams return eight starters to a team that lost on penalty kicks at Palm Harbor University in a 5A state semifinal, including seniors Krystal Torres, Tess Foels, Izzy Kadzban and Lindsey Vilece.
Lake Mary entered a Tuesday vs. Lake Brantley (2-0-2) with an 11-3 advantage in goals scored for the season. The Rams opened with wins over Hagerty (1-3-1), Seminole (2-2-1) and Lyman (1-3-2). Lake Mary is home vs. Timber Creek (3-1-0) on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Oviedo opened the season with a 2-2 tie vs. Lake Brantley before winning big over Winter Springs and Hagerty. The Lions played to a 0-0 tie Monday against Lake Nona (4-0-1).
Just five starters return to a Lions’ team that lost to Lake Mary in the district championship game and region semifinals. Jade Barkett is leaving school early to enroll at UCF in January. Seniors Kaitlyn Armour and Sierra Brown are joined by juniors Raisa Lugo and Kyleigh Thelen as the other returning starters.
Notes and numbers: Celebration coach Ed Kuzma won the 200th game of his career on Nov. 14 when the Storm prevailed 8-0 over Lakeland Tenoroc. Kuzma, who will move on and dedicate his time to coaching baseball after this season, entered his final year with a 199-145-36 record as a boys and girls soccer coach at Celebration.
Sophomore Paola DiDamaso has assisted on seven goals for the Storm (4-0-1), who returned 10 players that saw significant playing time for a team that went 6-9-2 a year ago. Senior centerback Bella Foster is the lone fouryear letter winner on roster.
Edgewater senior Kailey Scott has already accounted for 16 goals in five matches this season. That includes four goals each in wins over Ocoee (3-4-0) and Lake Howell (1-2-1). The Eagles (4-0-1) were scheduled to play at Bishop Moore (4-2-0) on Tuesday.
Edgewater, led by first-year coach Chris Vlaming and eight returning varsity players, hosts Class 2A state semifinalist Trinity Prep (1-2-0) on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Wekiva junior midfielder Areli Patricio has scored 13 goals for the Mustangs (5-2-0).
East River sophomore Jenessa Gray has netted 10 goals for the Falcons (4-1-1).