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Lady Tiger Sharks head to regionals

Following an early season tear that notched nine straight wins, and then settled into a 11-5-2 regular season record, the Lady Tiger Sharks girls varsity soccer team have earned a berth in the Class 2A regional semi-finals.

Lady Tiger Shark #11 senior co-captain Zoe Gerlach confronts an opponent.
Squaring off in early season action are Lady Tiger Sharks, from left, #17  junior London White; #9 eighth grader Bionca Raffield; and #11 #11 senior co-captain Zoe Gerlach.

Port St. Joe will be traveling to Gainesville Oak Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 16 for a chance to advance.

Coach Justin Gerlach’s squad finished as District #1 runner-up, after they lost 5-0 Friday at Maclay to the powerhouse Lady Marauders, a team whose 8-6-1 regular season record was burnished with frequent matches against bigger schools.

“They have zero weaknesses, and all strengths,” said Gerlach. “They got it all.”

The Lady Tiger Sharks had opened the district tourney with a hard-fought 2-1 win Feb. 3 against Rocky Bayou Christian.

Senior co-captain Zoe Gerlach and junior London White each scored a goal to secure the win.

The Lady Tiger Sharks went on to a nine0win run, as they downed Bozeman at home Nov. 12 by a score of 7-1; downed Freeport 2-0 on Nov. 14; and won Nov. 18 at Rutherford 8-0.

On Nov. 30 at Wakulla, a Class 4-A school, the Port St. Joe girls faced the Lady War Eagles for the first time ever, and came away with a 5-4 win.

Junior Rebecca Maddox drove home three goals, while junior Madelyn Gortemoller scored one and had one assist, and junior co-captain Haley Corzine scored one.

In a double header at home Dec. 5, the Lady Tiger Sharks topped Walton 3-1 and 5-0, and then three days later blanked Bay 8-0.

On Dec. 12 at home, the team downed Rocky Bayou Christian 5-1 at then on Dec. 15 at Franklin County, defeated the Lady Seahawks 9-1.

On Dec. 17, in a rematch at home against Wakulla, the Lady War Eagles avenged the earlier loss with a 4-3 win.

“We weren’t a surprise to them anymore, they knew what they were getting into,” said Justin Gerlach. “It could have gone either way.”

Gortemoller and Maddox each scored, with Gerlach adding an assist.

Port St. Joe opened 2021 with an 8-0 shutout on Jan. 5 at home against Franklin County.

But then, the season came crashing to an end for Maddox on Jan. 7 at home against North Bay Haven Academy, when the talented junior, and a possible Div. 1 college prospect, suffered a painful knee injury that likely ended her 2020-21 season.

Maddox had amassed a team-leading 24 goals, plus three assists, at the time of her injury, tops on the team.

Her absence was followed by the team settling for a 3-3 tie at home Jan. 9 against Freeport.

“We certainly got a little off-course and our offense was bland,” said the coach. “But we continued to battle throughout.

On Jan. 18 at Bozeman, the girls won 5-1, but on Jan. 22 at Rocky Bayou Christian, had to settle for a 2-2 tie.

That was followed by back-to-back 3-2 losses, on Jan. 25 at home against North Bay Haven Academy, and on Jan. 29 at Marianna.

In addition to Maddox’s scoring, the team has been led by Gortemoller’s 12 goals; 11 each by Gerlach and White; six by junior Morgan Mills; five by Corzine; three by sophomore Lexi Fountain; two by sophomore Jesslyn Kunnel; and one each by junior co-captain Kristen Bouington, freshman Maya Itzkovitz, and sophomore Jasslyn Raffield.

In terms of assists, Gortemoller has led with 16, with 10 by Gerlach, five by Corzine, three each by Maddox and White, and one by Kunnel.

In 18 games, junior Megan Saleh has amassed 1,279 minutes as goalkeeper, allowing 32 goals while saving 163.

Lady Tiger Sharks roster

#2 eighth grader Sophie Sanchez

#3 seventh grader Ava Davis

#4 junior co-captain Kristen Bouington

#5 junior Paris Martin

#6 junior co-captain Haley Corzine

#7 senior Briana Biagini

#8 freshman Maya Itzkovitz

#9 eighth grader Bionca Raffield

#10 junior Megan Saleh

#11 senior co-captain Zoe Gerlach

#12 sophomore Lexi Fountain

#13 junior Emily Dunn

#14 junior Laura Hill

#15 sophomore Jasslyn Raffield

#16 eighth grader Brinley Hendricks

#17 junior London White

#18 freshman Jessica Dunn

#19 seventh grader Anderson Hodges

#20 senior Eva Strickland

#21 sophomore Jesslyn Kunnel

#22 junior Madelyn Gortemoller

#23 eighth grader Parker Lanford

#24 junior Rebecca Maddox

#25 junior Morgan Mills