While most students head towards warm weather during spring break, the FSDB Goalball teams headed in the opposite direction, traveling to Boston to participate in the Eastern Athletic Association for the Blind (EAAB) Conference Goalball Tournament. The girls sought to keep their 10 consecutive conference title streak alive while the boys hoped to grab the title for the first time since 2009.
The FSDB Girls Goalball team opened the tournament against the Perkins School for the Blind, the hosting school. After a long trip and having not been on the court for 10 days due to spring break, the girls got off to a sluggish start. Perkins, with home crowd advantage, led the first half, which resulted in FSDB being down 2-3. During half time, the girls were determined to get back on track. They did so during the second half by scoring 5 goals to 0 by the opposing team. The final score was 7-3. This momentum continued through their next 3 games as they defeated West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (12-0), New York State School for the Blind 8-0, and Maryland School for the Blind (10-0). As teams progressed through pool play, quarterfinals, and semifinals action, FSDB took on New York again for the gold medal game. This was a tightly contested competition, with FSDB leading 2-0 at halftime. After scoring another goal midway through the second half to go up 3-0, New York brought the score to 3-1 with their goal. FSDB scored 2 more goals to win a close fought game 5-1, capturing their 11th consecutive conference championship title. “The girls played outstanding,” said Head Coach James Crozier. “And as usual, they represented FSDB well. It was a great cap to an excellent season.”
The FSDB Boys Goalball team sought their first conference win since 2009. “Sometimes moments come along that define and shape a team and the people involved. This trip was one of those times,” said Head Coach Carl Jacobson. In preparation for the trip, the decision was made to take only three athletes — Chase Blackburn, Malakai Godley, and Emmitt Johnson – all three being young and having the experience needed to play every minute of every game. In their first game, they were matched up against Perkins School for the Blind. They got off to an early lead and never looked back, winning 12-0. Their closest match of the tournament came next as they took on Maryland School for the Blind, where they escaped with an 8-6 victory. They went on to defeat Overbrook School for the Blind (11-3) in the quarterfinals and Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (11-1) in the semifinals. “We were excited for a chance to compete in the championship game, although a small part of us had a fear that we would come home again with a second best finish,” said Head Coach Carl Jacobson. “This has been their little ghost, their spook, what the teams calls “Casper the Friendly Ghost,” ever illusive, and whispering, “You just are not good enough to win the whole enchilada.” Still, the boys overcame their fears and won the championship title with a score of 7-3, defeating New York State School for the Blind.
Girls Individual Statistics and Recognitions
Cortlinn Pay – 8 goals scored, 1 goal allowed, named to EAAB All-Star Team
Ashley Centimole – 15 goals scored, 0 goals allowed, named to EAAB All-Star Team
Aaliyah Gisondi – 13 goals scored, 1 goal allowed, named Honorable Mention for All-Star Team
Heather Hunt – 6 goals scored, 2 goals allowed, named Honorable Mention for All-Star Team
Boys Individual Statistics and Recognitions
Chase Blackburn – 19 goals scored, 3 goals allowed, named Honorable Mention for All-Star Team
Malakai Godley – 16 goals scored, 2 goals allowed, named Honorable Mention for All-Star Team
Emmitt Johnson – 14 goals scored, 8 goals allowed, named to EAAB All-Star Team
Contributed by James Crozier and Carl Jacobson
Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) is a fully accredited state public school and outreach center available tuition-free to eligible pre-K and K-12 deaf/hard of hearing and blind/visually impaired students. Comprehensive educational services at FSDB are individualized, specific to the unique communication and accessibility needs of each student for independence and lifelong success. FSDB gratefully accepts private donations to support vital programs that directly benefit students and are not paid by state general revenue funds. To visit the school or to learn more about eligibility for enrollment, contact 1-800-344-3732. For more information, visit www.fsdb.k12.fl.us.