Islanders spark Manatee Her-icanes to strong start
|Islanders Sean Edwards, Christina Papazian and Amber Wright all got their kicks in the Anna Maria Island Community Center's soccer program - and now excel for the Manatee Her-icanes. Islander Photo: Kevin Cassidy
The Manatee High girls' junior varsity and varsity soccer teams are off to great starts, thanks in part to the contributions of Island residents Sean Edwards, Amber Wright and Christina Papazian.
The junior varsity team is off to an impressive 6-0-2 start that includes a 5-0 victory over Fort Myers Bishop Verot on Nov. 20. Edwards, a freshman, started her soccer playing career at age 5 in the Anna Maria Island Community Center's recreational soccer league. She is seeing a lot of playing time at outside midfielder. Edwards says she is having a lot of fun with her fellow JV teammates and has enjoyed learning new things about soccer from JV coach Jeff Nelson.
Nelson is impressed with Edwards as well. "Sean is a smart player who looks first to pass and create combinations with her teammates."
Edwards who lives in Holmes Beach with brother Patrick, mom Trish and father Don, was asked about her best soccer memory. She didn't hesitate, saying, "Making the team. I didn't know if I was going to make it and was so happy when I did."
When asked what the future may hold for her, Edwards wasn't sure. She definitely wants to play soccer in college and would like to earn a living through soccer. For now, she is concentrating on helping her team remain undefeated.
The girls varsity team lost its opening match against Sarasota, but has since reeled off six straight wins, including impressive victories over Lakeland George Jenkins and Fort Meyers Bishop Verot.
Junior defender Amber Wright and freshman goalie Christina Papazian have both made vital contributions to the Her-icane's success.
Wright, a junior, is in her first full year of varsity soccer after spending the last two seasons playing for Coach Nelson on the JV squad. She is a life-long resident of Holmes Beach, where she lives with her younger brother Alex, mom Angela and dad Andrew. Amber is also a product of the Center recreational soccer league, getting her first kicks as a 5-year-old in the instructional division.
In the Her-icane's 4-3 victory at George Jenkins, Wright played the entire game marking Kayla Grimsley, a dangerous senior forward, and held her scoreless. With the return of all-area senior defender Hannah Brickse, Wright has assumed the role as a reserve defender, but she's ready to play when called upon.
When asked what the future holds for her, Wright wasn't sure, though she did express interest in possibly continuing her playing career in college if the opportunity is there. Typical of a defender, Wright's best memory in her two-plus seasons of playing high school soccer is scoring a goal with her left foot against Bayshore High in her freshman season.
Playing behind Wright and between the pipes for the Her-icanes is freshman goalie and Longboat Key resident Christina Papazian. Christina, along with little brother Nick, mom Gigi and dad Rob, moved here from Longbeach Island, N.J., two years ago, though she pointed out that she was born in Seminole, Fla.
Papazian, who started playing soccer at age 8 in New Jersey, has always been a goalie, though she showed some field skills during the Her-icane's 8-0 victory on Nov. 14 over Bayshore High. Papazian started at forward in the second half with the Lady Canes holding a 5-0 lead and promptly notched a goal and an assist as the Her-icanes mercy-ruled the Bayshore Bruins.
Christina already has her future plans mapped out, which is why she is attending Manatee High in the first place. She wants to be a veterinarian and came to Manatee because of the medical academy curriculum it offers. She would love to continue her education toward that goal while also playing goalie for the powerful University of Florida Lady Gators.
When asked what her best memory of playing high school soccer is, she didn't hesitate. "All of the penalty kicks." Papazian has been between the pipes since age 8 and until she joined the Her-icanes, she had not faced a penalty kick in a regulation game situation. She's getting her practice in now, facing one penalty kick against the Sarasota Sailors in her first game, two against George Jenkins, and one more against district foe Port Charlotte during a three-game stretch.
Though she hasn't blocked one yet, she's guessed correctly on all four penalty kicks so she's due to block one soon.
Congratulations and continued success to Christina, Amber, Sean and the rest of their Manatee High soccer teammates.
Playing sports for your high school team?
Calling all Island athletes and parents. Give us a call or send us an e-mail and let us know about any and all athletic endeavors for your high school team. We're ready to report on you! Call me at 807-1105, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the pertinent information.
Ron Pepka's leaner blocked out any chance at the Nov. 22 horseshoe matches for Sam Samuels and John Johnson to rally, giving Pepka and partner Bill Starrett the 21-17 victory to claim bragging rights.
Five teams emerged from pool play action on Nov. 18, which, combined with the return of shoe legend Bill Starrett, made for some exciting playoff matches. Starrett, who holds the pit record for seven consecutive ringers, was teamed up with Ron Slagh. They advanced to the finals, but fell to George "Walker" McKay by a 21-8 score.
Play gets under way at 9 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. Warmups begin at 8:45 a.m. followed by random team selection. There is no charge to play and everyone is welcome.
Cheerleading signups begin
The Anna Maria Island Community Center is now registering boys and girls, ages 7-13, for its 2006-07 basketball cheerleading squads. Cost for cheering this season is $35 for first child that is a center member and $30 for any additional siblings. Cost for non-members is $50 for the first child and $45 for any additional siblings.
The last day to register for the season is Saturday, Dec. 8, so don't delay.
Registration will be held at the following times and nights at King Middle School, 600 75th St. N.W. in Bradenton.
- 6-8 p.m.Thursday, Nov. 30.
- 7-8 p.m.Thursday, Dec. 7.
- 6-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8.
Cheerleaders each receive a uniform, including a cheer shirt, skirt or shorts, and socks. Cheering is a two- or three-hour per week commitment that includes two games and one practice per week. Due to construction at the Center, all games will be played Monday-Friday at King School.
The Center is also looking for cheerleader squad leaders. To sign up as a squad leader or to get more information, contact the Center at 778-1908.
Register now for AMICC basketball
Boys and girls ages 5-17 (before Dec. 2) are invited to register for the Anna Maria Island Community Center 2006 basketball league. From 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, Nov. 28 and 30, players can register at King Middle School, 600 75th St. N.W., Bradenton.
Cost for playing basketball is $45 and $40 for any additional family-member players. Non-members fee is $60 for first child and $55 for additional children.
Due to construction at the Center, all games this season will be played at King Middle School.
Every child who registers will be placed on a team, but all prospective and returning players must first register and attend tryouts at the times and dates listed below.
- Ages 14-17: 6-6:45 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7.
- Ages 12-13: 6-6:45 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8.
- Ages 10-11: 6-6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6.
- Ages 8-9: 7-7:45 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5.
- Ages 5-7: 6-6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5.
Coaches and prospective coaches and volunteers are asked to check in with league director Andy Jonatzke at the Center by Nov. 22.