Goalball Teams Aim for National Championships


FSDB Boys and Girls Goalball team holding up 1st and 2nd place trophies at the Lakeshore Foundation tournament.

The FSDB Boys and Girls Goalball athletic teams travel on November 14-16, 2019, to compete in the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) National Goalball High School Championships in Austin, TX. The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired will host this year's tournament. Both FSDB teams are defending national champions and are poised to repeat.


Leading up to the nationals, FSDB competed in the Lakeshore Foundation Invitational in Birmingham, AL. FSDB brought two teams for both boys and girls and took first and second place in both divisions.


FSDB Girls Goalball Team A holding up 1st place trophies.

On the girls' side of the draw, the Florida A team went 5-0 during the tournament to finish in 1st place. The Florida B team suffered an opening loss to Texas 7-6, but won their next two games against South Carolina and Georgia, earning a spot in the finals against the Florida A team. Florida A won the match 8-3.


In the boys' division, Florida sent two teams, as well. In pool play, Team A earned victories over Georgia (13-3) and South Carolina (13-3) but suffered a loss to Texas (4-6). Team B went undefeated with wins against South Carolina (13-3), Alabama (11-5), and Texas (8-4). Both Florida teams faced off against each other in the championship game. Florida A came out on top with an 11-6 victory over their classmates.


FSDB Boys Goalball Team A holding up 1st place trophies.

The FSDB Girls Goalball team enters the national championships as the favorite, having won the last four national titles. A pair of dynamic Senior wing players, Veronica Hyatt and Aaliyah Ferguson, lead the team. Junior Center Brianna Cruz, is a USABA All-American defensive specialist, who handles the bulk of the defensive work and sets up her wings for scoring opportunities. Also representing FSDB are seniors Meli Hatcher and Adiana Brennan, and sophomore DeJonae Levers. The team is led by James Crozier, who is in his 17th season as FSDB Goalball head coach, with assistant coach Katrina DeSue. Coach Crozier's teams have won more tournament titles than any other youth goalball program in the country.


"I'm excited to see what this year's team will accomplish at nationals. While we have experienced a lot of success in the last several years, each year is a new team. The players have done a great job of not taking anything for granted, working on getting better every practice, and recognizing the importance of preparation and sticking to our guiding principles and values," said Coach Crozier.

Four of the six players that will represent FSDB are seniors, all of whom have been significant contributors.


Crozier continued, "It is going to be fun to see how they respond to playing in their final national championships."


The FSDB Boys Goalball team is the defending National Champions as well, having beaten Utah 12-8 in last year's gold medal game. The young team is made up of Kolton Kimbell, Tre' Shaun Faison, Luke Boccuzzo, Lance Gardenhire, Thomas Rice, and Joshua O'Connor. In his fifth season as head coach, Keith Young is excited about the future of the program.


"With only one senior in the Boys Goalball program, there is a lot of younger players within the pipeline to sustain a successful program for quite some time. I am excited for the first-time players getting invaluable competitive experience and growing on the court," stated Coach Young.

Both tournaments will consist of round-robin pool play games with cross-over/quarter-final matches. Teams advancing will be reseeded based on pool play, followed by semi-finals and medal games. The length of games will consist of two, 8-minute halves, except for the semi-finals and finals, which will be two, 12-minute halves.


The USABA National Goalball High School Championships will be streamed live at www.tsbvi.edu/live.

 


Girls Pool Play Schedule


Thursday, November 14

5:45 pm – FSDB vs Georgia Academy Panthers


Friday, November 15

9:45 am – FSDB vs Texas Wildcats

12:00 pm – FSDB vs Central Texas Avengers

2:15 pm – FSDB vs Mississippi

5:15 pm – FSDB vs Utah Rage

7:15 pm – FSDB vs Washington Lionesses

 


Boys Pool Play Schedule


Thursday, November 14

7:15 pm – FSDB vs Virginia Chiefs


Friday, November 15

9:00 am – FSDB vs Arizona

11:15 am – FSDB vs Washington Lions