PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)– Both of Arnold High School’s soccer teams picked up wins on Tuesday night to advance the state semifinals of the Class 4A State Playoffs.
“We’re trying to bring one back home, which has never been done, hopefully, the girls can do the same,” said Arnold head boys soccer coach Jonathan Hammond.
The teams are now just two wins away from hoisting state championship trophies.
“I think everyone’s just excited to be apart of it,” Arnold girls soccer player Skye Hendrix said.
The historic feat is something the Marlins head coaches have been working toward. With the boys team making playoff runs the past several years, they’ve been looking to build the girls program since Larry Cecchini came to the school two years ago.
Both teams won their region final games on the road, the girls team returned home late Tuesday night and watched film at the high school on Wednesday. They will get right back on the bus to travel to Lemon Bay for their state semifinals game on Thursday morning.
“We’re all just learning how to work together and really honing in on our skills as a team and focusing on team bonding and I think we’re all ready to play together as a team,” Arnold girls soccer player Gracie Hundley said.
The boys team decided to stay in St. Augustine with their previous opponent Menendez being just three hours away from their final four opponent, Mariner.
“We’re enjoying our time together, obviously we didn’t think we were going to spend an entire week out of school and on the road, but if that’s what it is, that’s what it’s going to take we’re all in,” Hammond said.
During the bus rides and time spent in hotels, the teams are focusing on what they need to do to win on Friday. For the girls team, it’s scoring early in the game.
“That’s our goal every time, come out, set the pace get that first goal in the first 10 minutes,” said Arnold head girls soccer coach Larry Cecchini.
The boys team will also look to repeat what’s made them successful throughout the regular and postseason.
“We just got to keep up the intensity, keep up the pressure that we put on other teams… just take care of business,” Hammond said.
With all of the traveling expenses that have come with the playoffs, the Marlins are asking for the community’s continued support.
“Anything anyone fees like they can do to help, please reach out to the boosters, reach out to the school, whether it’s monetary whether it’s food for the bus or things, we’re glad to take it,” Cecchini said.
Both teams’ games will begin at 7 on Friday night. The girls state Championship is set for next Wednesday, the boys is set for next Thursday.