Boys soccer: Class 7A state final preview

Boys state soccer finals

All matches are at Spec Martin Stadium in DeLand. Admission is $9 in advance, $12 on the day of the event. Parking is free.

Class 7A

Plant (18-3-1) vs. Naples Gulf Coast (19-3-2), 1

How they got here: Plant d. Sarasota Riverview 4-1, d. Newsome 2-1, d. East Ridge 5-1, d. Lake Mary 1-0. Naples Gulf Coast d. Pembroke Pines Flanagan 3-1, d. Cypress Bay 2-0, d. Miami Columbus 3-1, d. Boca Raton Spanish River 3-1.   

Top players: Plant: F Adan McGlynn, Sr. (14 goals, 9 assists); D/F Julian Roberson, Jr. (64 steals); F Otis Wildman, Jr. (13 goals, 2 assists); F Justin Tiller, Jr. (10 goals, 2 assists); MF Joseph Anderson, Jr. (5 goals, 8 assists); GK Yannick Parkes, Sr. (94 saves); GK Colton Wilensky, Sr. (16 saves). Naples Gulf Coast: F Marcello Maffei, So., Plant (11 goals, 5 assists); MF Noah Nassberg, Sr. (13 assists, 9 goals); GK Henry Lewis, Jr. (6 shutouts); MF Jarvis Banks, Jr. (8 goals).

Outlook: The Panthers, ranked second in 7A, seventh overall in the state and 13th nationally, are playing in the state final for the first time. They are coached by Janessa Taddei, a former standout on Plant’s girls soccer team who played at Florida International before returning to her alma mater to take over the boy’s program. The Sharks, ranked first in 7A, fourth overall in the state and seventh nationally, are playing in the final for the first time since 2018 when they won their only title. Expect a tight, low-scoring contest. Both teams allow an average of one goal per match. This could be an advantage for the Panthers, who have learned how to prevail in close matches. Plant has won its last five matches that were decided by a goal.