Creekside never knows exactly where its next goal is coming from.
By now, it doesn’t matter.
“That unpredictability makes it harder to game-plan against us, because you don’t know who’s going to score,” Knights coach Brent Johnson said.
With balance and teamwork, Creekside stands on the brink of its first state girls soccer championship, if the Knights overcome St. Thomas Aquinas at Spec Martin Stadium in DeLand in Friday’s Class 4A final.
The Knights find goals from all different sources — ball-winning midfielder Claire Amici one day, speedy forward Sidney Usina another, freshman Delaney Tauzel the next.
Last week, it was outside defender Taylor Hults boosting Creekside early at New Port Richey Mitchell, and Tauzel putting the 4-1 victory away with two second-half goals.
A flowing midfield with three seniors and one fast-rising freshman clicks with the skill and drive to keep opponents out of rhythm.
Organizer Sophia Thompson leads the team with 17 assists, Amici roams all across the defensive midfield with firm tackles and Tauzel continues to grow week by week in her first season with the program.
“She’s fit pretty seamlessly into the starting lineup,” Johnson said.
Those three join Jessica Quixley, the team’s only player with more than 10 goals — not that she’s complaining.
“With all the support from Sophia and Delaney in the middle, they’ve set me up really well,” said Quixley, who played in past seasons in a deeper position.
Quixley’s shift to a more attacking post added one more piece to help Creekside find that ideal balance.
“That balance is important to any team, and it’s been especially big for us,” Johnson said.
Never was it more crucial than last month’s District 4-4A semifinal, when Creekside stood eight minutes away from an early exit at the hands of county rival Nease. Defensive midfielder Amici made her move, setting up freshman Aaliyah Thompson on a breakaway to force overtime and then winning the game herself with a powerful header in the sudden-death period.
“After that game, we thought, ‘We’re not stopping here,’” Quixley said.
They certainly didn’t, knocking down one obstacle after another: Fletcher, Bartram Trail and Niceville fell on the road to Creekside’s first-ever regional final.
Standing in their way now is Aquinas, which has dominated nearly every game this year — the Raiders have outscored opponents 143-6 — and boasts five players bound for Division I schools.
But after a regular season schedule that included the likes of St. Johns Country Day, Stanton and Bolles, Johnson isn’t intimidated.
“We’ve played some very good teams this year, and we feel pretty good about playing against the very best in Florida,” he said. “That’s what we planned when we set this schedule up.”