The Key West Conchs played on Nov. 29, hitting the road to take on the 5A Wolverines of Belen Jesuit High. Belen took an early lead in the first half and Key West fired back shortly after, capitalizing on a corner kick. Albie Bowden was the one to find the net, using his head, with Sebastian Carmargo credited with the assist. Belen retook the lead just before halftime. 

Key West came out shooting in the second half, pressuring the Belen keeper with multiple shots that did not manage to make it across the goal line. Belen scored a third goal from a throw-in, stretching their lead. Own Lindley then scored his first high school goal with an impressive bicycle kick from a corner, assisted by Carmargo. The re-energized Conchs then looked to even it up, but Belen would be the team to score last, handing Key West a loss in the record book but likely boosting their power ranking against the higher-ranked, larger Wolverines. 

On Dec. 2, the even larger 7A Bobcats of North Port High School made the trip from Sarasota to play the southernmost school. The Bobcats won the match, but Loubins Fleuridor, assisted by Kieran Smith, denied them a shutout with a Conch goal in the 3-1 loss.

The Lady Conchs had one win and one loss last week. They started the week off strong, defeating Somerset Academy Silver Palms in an 8-0 mercy-rule victory. Jazzy Dieguez earned a hat trick in the resounding win. Ella Baxter added 2 points and Grace Andrew, Colbie Turner and Maddie Kilduff found the net one time each. Goalkeeper Teagan Lavin was credited with the shutout. On Dec. 2, they took on the much larger North Port High School, playing to a 5-1 loss at home. Grace Andrew scored the lone goal for the Conchs. The Conchs’ next opponent is Coral Shores, which travels to Key West on Friday, Dec. 8 for a non-district contest. The Conchs won their first meeting 2-1 on Nov. 8 and look to even up their record, which currently stands at 2-3-1.

Marathon’s girls got off to a late start in gameplay this season and, due to a cancellation by International Studies on Dec. 1, played just one match last week. The Lady Fins hosted Coral Shores for a district matchup that began in Cinderella fashion for Marathon. First-year head coach Cathy Gwilliam, formerly on Coral Shores’ coaching staff, faced the familiar foe head-on and her Lady Fins played a half of stellar soccer, culminating in a Sara Strama goal putting the underdog Fins up 1-0. Marathon’s defense held strong, but Coral Shores’ 19 shots on goal were too much for the young team to overcome.

Once Coral Shores found the net, the floodgates opened for the Hurricanes. By the final whistle, Kai Redruello had earned herself a hat trick. Sofia Jans and Izzy Malloggi each scored a goal and Ali Beth Wilson assisted two in a game that ended far differently than it began. The 5-1 win for Coral Shores was secured by Sophie Stevenson and Haylee Castrorao, who combined in goal with five saves. Coral Shores’ victory gave them a win in District 16 3A action, which they saw more of on Dec. 1 when they played Keys Gate at home. The Hurricanes lost that match 1-0. They will not see another district game until Jan. 12 when they play Marathon at home, placing district bracketing outcomes into the temperamental realm of power rankings. Both Marathon and Coral Shores will have the opportunity to increase their rankings with some larger and challenging teams on their schedules this season.

Marathon’s boys had a big road win on Nov. 27, beating the Crusaders of Dade Christian 5-0. Giordani Prieto and Jayden Rosete had a pair of goals apiece and Oscar Cardona scored 1 in the Fins’ shutout victory. The following night, Cardona had 2 and Prieto scored another goal in a game which came down to the final moments. Marathon came up short in the 4-3 loss against Westland Hialeah. The Dolphins took the home opener loss to heart and regrouped for a district contest against neighboring rival Coral Shores on Dec. 1.

In Coral Shores’ only match last week, the Hurricanes stormed Marathon’s field and started the game strong with a first-half goal from Tony Khioni. Khioni, just a freshman, managed to outmaneuver Fins’ goalie Tiago Rivero in a one-on-one, putting the ’Canes up 1-0. It would then be an all-out battle between both teams until Gabriel Mendoza managed to get one into the back of the net for Marathon to tie the game 1-1, which would be the final score after 80 minutes of excellent play on both sides of the field. For Coral Shores, Joel Lopez and Sebastian Dixon combined in goal for 7 saves. Marathon’s Tiago Riveo endured an incredible 37 shots on goal, denying all but one. The Hurricanes and Dolphins will have another chance to add a win to their district schedules, this time in Tavernier, on Jan. 12.

Photos by Barry Gaukel/Keys Weekly

Tracy McDonald fled to the Keys from the frozen mountains of Pennsylvania hours after graduating from college and never looked back. She is a second generation coach and educator, and has taught in the public school system for over 25 years. She and her husband met at a beginning teacher meeting in 1997 and have three children born and raised in Monroe County. In her free time, McDonald loves flea markets, historical fiction and long runs in the heat.