Winner will be selected from six Player of the Year winners
By Official Florida FC
Florida’s girls soccer Player of the Year were announced Tuesday afternoon. Of the six winners, four played on the final weekend of the season and two others nearly singlehandedly lifted their teams into the playoffs.
While all of the girls were deserving of their accomplishment, it was interesting that despite winning its third straight state championship, no one from Lakeland Christian finished in the top three in balloting for Class 2A Player of the Year.
Perhaps the challenge, when it came to the Vikings, was they had 13 seniors and dominated through teamwork and togetherness – alongside their apparent talent.
As for the players who were recognized, three are committed to play in the SEC, another will play in the Ivy League and a fifth will stay in-state to play for Division II powerhouse Embry-Riddle.
Class 7A Player of the Year: Grace Ivey, St. Johns Bartram Trail
Scored 19 goals and added 35 more assists to lead the Bears to an unbeaten season (21-0-2) and the Class 7A state championship for the third time in four years.
Class 6A Player of the Year: Meredith Pugh, Gulf Breeze
Scored 24 goals and added 17 assists to lead the Dolphins to their first state championship in 22 years. She will play collegiately at Georgia Southern.
Class 5A Player of the Year: Ryleigh Acosta, Cape Coral Mariner
The junior scored 25 goals and provided 21 assists to help the Tritons finish 18-5-1 and advance to the state final for the second straight year. She scored or assisted 10 of Mariner’s 14 goals scored in the FHSAA playoffs.
Class 4A Player of the Year: Leah Finkleman, Coconut Creek North Broward Prep
The Eagles (14-7-1) scored 80 goals this season. Finkleman scored or assisted on 62 of them. She finished with 36 goals and 26 assists.
Class 3A Player of the Year: Annalise Cannada, Jacksonville Bolles
Finished with 26 goals and 13 assists in 18 games for the Bulldogs (15-7-3). Bolles was 14-2-2 in games she played in and 1-6-1 in matches she did not.
Class 2A Player of the Year: Lauryn Mateo, Orange Park St. Johns Country Day
She scored 18 goals and added six assists after helping the Spartans advance to the state final for the 12th straight season.
Coach of the Year finalists
The nominees for the statewide Coach of the Year were announced as well.
Jen Rodriguez, St. Johns Bartram Trail (Class 7A, 21-0-2); Albert Gatica, Gulf Breeze (Class 6A, 20-2-1); Jami Hagi, Cape Coral Mariner (Class 5A, 18-5-1); Amy Geltz, Orlando Bishop Moore (Class 4A, 20-2-3); Hillary Carney, Palm Beach Gardens Benjamin (Class 3A, 15-1-1) and Jason Streets (Class 2A, 21-2-2)
Geltz shared the statewide Coach of the Year honor with St. Johns Creekside head coach Joe Soto in 2022. She looks to join Mike Pickett (St. Johns Country Day), Rosanna Lord (Melbourne), Laura Round Tree (Stoneman Douglas) and Mike Lagow (Gulf Breeze) as the only coaches to win the award in consecutive years.
The favorite is likely Rodriguez, who led Bartram Trail to the only unbeaten record in the state this year. Bartram Trail (21-0-2) not only beat Bishop Moore, but Gulf Breeze and Lakeland Christian as well.
A statewide poll of coaches and journalists – including Official Florida FC – will vote to determine who is Miss Soccer and who wins the statewide Coach of the Year award.