FLEMING ISLAND – Fleming Island High graduate and soccer ace Katie Nimitz has found her way to a handful of coaching experiences since her 2013 graduation and playing time at Lynn University in …
FLEMING ISLAND – Fleming Island High graduate and soccer ace Katie Nimitz has found her way to a handful of coaching experiences since her 2013 graduation and playing time at Lynn University in South Florida with goalie camps at the Clay County Soccer Complex and, most recently, as assistant coach at Quincy University (IL) (Div. II).
“I was just looking through the NCAA jobs site and saw an opening at Quincy and applied,” said Nimitz, who has guided the Clay County-based Florida SOL womens professional team to an unbeaten season start after a 2-1 win Saturday night over the FC Surge out of Miami at the Clay County Soccer Complex. “I like it there and the team did great this season; Sweet 16 in the NCAA Division II tournament and a final 11th seed finish. I get to work on my master’s degree too.”
Nimitz, who coaches the Florida SOL with St. Johns Country Day School graduate Annie Bobbitt, said her Quincy team won the regular season record (17-4-1) in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, finished as runnerups to McKendree University in the conference championship, but had a strong enough season to get into the NCAA tournament. Quincy had 13 shutouts and allowed just 17 goals for the season to get the Quincy coaching staff; head coach Dave Musso, Nimitz and volunteer assistant Cody Smith as the Midwest Region Staff of the year. Musso has been GLVC coach of the year four times and this year was his second region coach of the year.
Nimitz, in her first season with Quincy, coached goalkeeper Megan Swanson to 17 wins (tied for most in a single-season), 13 shutouts (second most in a single-season) and 91 saves (third most in a single-season).
Quincy, the No. 2-seed, finished with a 2-1 win over Bellarmine in the NCAA second round before losing to top-seed Grand Valley State 3-1 in the quarterfinals.
In Florida SOL’s Saturday’s home victory, coming after a 5-0 season opening win over Puerto Rico Pride on June 4, Florida SOL scored late in the first half then quickly into the second half to get the two goals for the win.
With only five minutes left to play in the first half, Fleming Island High’s Brianna Paige, now at Nova Southeastern, took a feed from Oakleaf High’s Nicolette Conte, now at University of West Georgia, and beat the Surge keeper to get the first point of the game. The blast at the 40 minute mark gave SOL some solace going into the half break.
At the 43 minute mark, local favorite and Clay High alum Liz Fogarty, now at Mississippi State, found herself one-on-one with the goalie, trying to tame a wild pass. The ball came in right where Fogarty couldn’t comfortably head the ball, so she elected to attempt a kick.
“I was nervous to head it over the goalie” said Fogarty. “It bounced over and the goalie missed it. Me being so tall, I was thinking I’m about the rocket that thing over the goal, so I was just going to hit it with my leg. But the ball was too far in the air, it hit the ground, took a weird bounce and my Karate kick didn’t work, then the Goalie wrapped around me and got a poke at it.”
As she swung her leg, the ball took an odd bounce, allowing the Surge keeper to attack the ball, punching it away, thus robbing Fogarty of her chance for goal.
Still 1-0 at the half.
During the break, storm clouds were forming to the west and north. On the horizon, thunder could be heard, but no lightening was over the park yet, but the storm clouds on the field built quickly as both teams felt the urgency to score in case of the weather shortening the game. Noticeable were the acute passes and much stronger attacks on both sides.
With about 31 minutes left to play, Angeline Daly, an Auburn University player and graduate of 2016 state champ Ponte Vedra High School, put the ball in play off a corner kick, then rushed the net. The ball came out to the top of the foul area, and back to Daly. She wound up and shot the ball, which ricocheted off another player and past the Surge keeper for goal number two only 14 minutes into the second half.
As the storms approach, the play tempo continued to crescendo. With some aggressive play, a foul was called on SOL, allowing a penalty kick for Surge at the top of the goal line.
The Surge successfully scored off the penalty kick for the final 2-1 score.
With 17:18 left to play, a bolt shot to the ground close to the field and the warning horn sounded forcing everyone to shelter. Within minutes, the field was awash in a deluge that quickly formed huge puddles. With the lightening continuing, both coaches finally agreed to call the game in the name of player safety.
Sol packs their bags to head across the state to play Florida Tropics FC in St. Petersburg for game three of their 2018 season.