The FSDB Girls and Boys Goalball teams are National Champions for the second year in a row! The Cobras traveled to Austin, TX to compete in the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) National Goalball High School Championships on November 14-16, 2019.
Girls Goalball Recap
The FSDB Girls Goalball went 8-0 in the tournament and defeated the home team, Texas, in the championship game 10-0 to claim the gold medal. This is the girls' fifth consecutive title, extending their record-breaking winning streak.
FSDB played rock-solid defense the entire tournament. After giving up five goals in their first game against Georgia, which they won 12-5, the Cobras would only allow one more goal in their remaining seven games.
Offensively, the Cobras executed their shots with a high degree of accuracy, frustrating their opponents with the combination of stifling defense and good shot-making.
Watch the archived live stream of the Girls Gold Medal Match courtesy of TSBVI.
The team was represented by four seniors competing in their final nationals; Aaliyah Ferguson, Adiana Brennan, Meli Hatcher, and Veronica Hyatt. Veronica led the way in scoring, tallying 30 goals, and Aaliyah chipped in another 25 goals to add to the offensive totals. Adiana (4 goals) and Meli (9 goals) also contributed significantly as the team's depth proved very beneficial throughout the tournament. Junior Brianna Cruz provided outstanding defensive work at the center position. Sophomore DeJonae Levers added ten goals and excellent defense as well when her number was called.
Aaliyah Ferguson and Veronica Hyatt were both named to the All-American team. Girls Head Coach James Crozier said, "Several participants and spectators were so impressed with the teams' communication, precision, and skill."
During the post-game interview, the players credited their preparation and hard work that they put in and how good they felt that it all paid off. When asked how they worked so well together, Veronica stated, "We are a family, this is just what we do."
The players were also excited to learn after the tournament that, with their win in the championship game, Coach Crozier earned his 299th victory as coach of the program. When the coach remarked, maybe it was time to retire, the players responded with "I don't think so."
Boys Goalball Recap
After a long day of traveling, the FSDB Boys Goalball team opened up against Virginia and lost 7-9. The Cobras reset the next day and finished off pool play with dominating victories over Arizona (10-0) and Washington (10-0). Tournament play started Friday night, and FSDB was pitted against Mississippi in a quarterfinal match. The Cobras continued to play well, winning 11-1 and advanced to the next round.
In the semifinals, the Cobras faced the host team, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and had a convincing 9-4 win. The victory propelled FSDB into the finals for a rematch against Virginia. The boys did not let their opening loss affect them and came out of the gates fast and strong, with another dominating win 14-4.
Watch the archived live stream of the Boys Gold Medal Match courtesy of TSBVI.
Three FSDB players were named to the 2019 All-American Team; Kolton Kimbell (senior), Tre' Shaun Faison (junior), and Luke Boccuzzo (junior). Lance Gardenhire (junior), Thomas Rice (junior), and Joshua O'Connor also contributed to the team's championship run.
Boys Head Coach Keith Young said, "USABA officials, rival coaches, and parents repeatedly commented on the team's character, both on- and off-the-court. We will only be losing one senior at the end of this year, and the team looks incredibly strong with a core group of 11th graders, 9th graders, and 8th graders moving forward."
The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is a tuition-free state public school and outreach center available to eligible Pre-K and K-12 students who are deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired, or deafblind. At FSDB, students learn how to do more, be more, and achieve more, fulfilling our vision of preparing them for a lifetime of success. FSDB gratefully accepts private donations to support vital programs that directly benefit students and are not paid by state general revenue funds. For a campus tour or to inquire about eligibility for enrollment, contact FSDB Parent Services at 904-827-2212 voice or 904-201-4527 videophone. For more information, visit www.fsdbk12.org