DELAND - In a championship game reminiscent of the United States women's team World Cup championship over Japan on a brutally sunny day in Canada, the 40 miles per hour winds in Deland's Spec Martin …
DELAND - In a championship game reminiscent of the United States women's team World Cup championship over Japan on a brutally sunny day in Canada, the 40 miles per hour winds in Deland's Spec Martin Stadium became the focal point of St. Johns Country Day School girls soccer coach Mike Pickett's strategy for Wednesday's Class 1A title defense against Lakeland Christian.
With the gusts at his team's backs, Pickett employed a heavy full frontal attack mode on the field that ended two quick first half goals and a final 2-0 championship win. The USA womens team, with the sun glaring into the eyes of the Japan team's goalie, scored four quick goals, three by all star Carli Lloyd, en route to a 5-2 World Cup championship in Vancouver in 2015.
"Obviously the win played into the strategy and when we got the two quick goals for the half, we didn't need to get more in the second half, so we protected out goal," said Pickett, with the sixth consecutive Class 1A trophy returning to Orange Park with an unbeaten 28-0-0 season record. "The field is much smaller and the wind being what is was limited what we could do. It was ugly, but we did what we had to do."
With just two minutes off the clock, St. Johns first goal was a scramble in front of the Lakeland goal that became a self-goal off a long throw-in from Payton Walton while junior stalwart Abbey Newton landed the second goal off a traditional power kick from about 18 yards out.
"I don't think any of us hit the first one," said Newton, who was closest to the ball before it fell into the net. "I think one of their girls hit it."
Newton's goal came at the 32:58 mark to end the scoring for the day. St. Johns goalie Cassidy Wasdin made a spectacular diving save of a second half penalty kick to preserve the shut out.