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Boys Soccer

Keswick’s Josh Nordaas named a national scholar All-American

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Josh Nordaas is adept at putting a soccer ball through the net. Just look at the stats the Keswick Christian graduate compiled in his high school career: 40 goals as a senior, 63 overall.

He also has a knack for setting up teammates to score, as evidenced by his 24 assists this past season and 58 in his career, both marks setting school records. 

Those numbers were noteworthy. So were the ones he accomplished in the classroom, particularly when it comes to the greatest academic measurable of all: grade point average. 

Nordaas ranked among the top students at Keswick with a weighted 4.30 gpa. 

The combination of athletic and academic achievements helped Nordaas gain some notoriety. He was the only local listed on the 2019-20 United Soccer Coaches High School Boys Scholar All-America Team. 

“It was a tremendous honor to be on that list, and to be recognized for all the work I put in all these years,” Nordaas said. “It was a tough year, especially with everything being shut down, so it was good to be rewarded at the end. It was really one of the first times I’ve been able to kind of look back and realize everything I was able to do at Keswick.”

Nordaas still is recovering from shoulder surgery. That prevented him from pursuing any offers or interest from college coaches. Instead, he will attend the University of Florida as a student and plans on playing soccer at the club level.  

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Boys Soccer

Marcello Valbuena named state boys soccer player of the year

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Tampa Catholic’s Marcello Valbuena, who led the Class 3A state champions in scoring, was named Mr. Soccer, the award given to the top boys player in the state by the Florida Dairy Farmers. 

Valbuena, named the 3A player of the year last week, received 12 of the 17 first place votes and had 134 points, 52 more than Fort Myers Canterbury’s McLaren Baggett, the 2A player of the year. 

This is the ninth time an area player has won the top overall honor in boys soccer. The last was Tampa Prep’s Shaddy Douidar in 2013. 

Valbuena, a senior forward, decided to play high school soccer for the first time this season after playing strictly at the club level. The University of Tampa signee finished with 36 goals and five assists. In the 3A state title match, Valbuena connected on two goals within an eight-minute span to give Tampa Catholic its first lead, one that would last the rest of the match to secure the Crusaders’ first state title in boys soccer. 

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Boys Soccer

Weeki Wachee’s Seth Tarbox named 4A player of the year

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Weeki Wachee’s Seth Tarbox, one of the area’s top playmakers, was named the Class 4A state player of the year in boys soccer by the Florida Dairy Farmers.

The senior forward teamed with Jacob Kelly to form a dynamic 1-2 punch for the Hornets. Kelly scored a team-high 33 goals, many of which were set up by Tarbox. 

Tarbox was adept at putting the ball through the net, too. The Warner signee finished with 25 goals and 25 assists to help Weeki Wachee advance to the region finals. 

The winners in each classification were selected through voting from a statewide panel of boys soccer coaches and media representatives. They are now eligible to be named the overall winner in the state, which will go through another round of voting and likely be announced next week.  

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Boys Soccer

Boys soccer: Jesuit unable to repeat as 5A state champions

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Winning a state title is difficult.

Repeating as a state champion is even more challenging. 

Graduation can take away key players. Complacency can take hold. Anything can happen. 

Jesuit’s boys soccer team knows. 

The Tigers, one of the area’s most storied programs, has won seven state titles, second locally behind Clearwater Central Catholic’s nine championships.  But only during a three-year stretch from 1997-99 was Jesuit to win those titles consecutively. 

That was the task the Tigers faced after taking home the 5A title last season. Jesuit said goodbye to 16 players who graduated, including Carson Bien, the 5A state player of the year. 

Losing that much talent off a roster would pose difficulties for any program. But Tigers always have reinforcements.

The newcomers filled in adequately. The holdovers took on bigger roles as leaders. The wins kept coming, so much Jesuit found itself in a familiar spot by making it back to Spec Martin Stadium in DeLand for Saturday’s 5A title match. 

But the Tigers could not hold on to a first half lead, falling in overtime to Belen Jesuit 2-1.

In the first half, Jesuit took the lead on a goal from Ty Cabbasa. Belen Jesuit answered early in the second half on a header from Aidan Miles to tie the match. 

It stayed that way through the end of regulation and one overtime period. 

In the second overtime, the Wolverines converted on a second-chance ball off a free kick to take the lead.

Jesuit tried to rally but could not get a shot to fall through the net that would have tied the match.

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