Article and Photography by ALICE MARY HERDEN
Brooksville, Fla.– ‘Take care of business’ Nature Coast Tech coach Sal Calabrese said to his players on the sideline before kick-off and their last regular-season game.
“The regular season for us is a process, and the goal is to get a little bit better as players get better as a team, as the season goes on and hopefully be peaking by the time you reach the district tournament,” said Sharks soccer coach Ian Wald. “We have been working towards that, trying to make sure we are in the right system and shape, and the boys are playing with the proper tactics that we are teaching them.”
Nature Coast Tech dominated on their home field on Senior Night with a 3-1 win over Fivay. The Sharks ended the regular season with 16 wins, six losses, and one tie. Now they wait to see who their competitor will be for the 4A District 6 Tournament Semi-Finals on February 5.
“We are not preparing for one team in particular, we’re just preparing to field the best possible team that we can field. And we are doing that through training, through lots of team activity, lots of talk on tactics and making sure we are mentally, physically, and technically prepared,” Wald said.
When the 2019/2020 season began for Nature Coast Tech, they were moved from a 3A District 7 league into the 4A District 6 league and lost three major district competitors: Pasco, Springstead and Weeki Wachee. Now leading 4A District 6, their ultimate goal may be within reach.
“Our goal from day one has been to do well in the state playoffs this year after districts. We notoriously make it to the state playoffs and lose in the first round, and we believe that this team can do better than that,” Wald said.
The Sharks have a bye week on February 3 as Hernando plays Zephyrhills in the quarter-finals. Hernando was the victor in that match and will play Nature Coast Tech in the semi-finals on Feb. 5. The district final game is scheduled for February 7.