FPC took down the Buccaneers 5-0 at Sal Campanella Memorial Stadium.
There was a boys soccer game between Mainland and Flagler Palm Coast on the night of Monday, Jan. 8, at Flagler Palm Coast High School. But unless you were on the field, you wouldn’t know it.
After temperatures dropped into the low 50s, a thick cover of fog rolled across the field at Sal Campanella Memorial Stadium. The players in the game were hardly visible from the stands. The ball seemingly disappeared into the dense air when kicked. And the teams’ benches, which sit directly opposite the fans, were completely blocked from view.
“I’ve played in a tropical storm,” Mainland’s senior goal keeper and team captain Colin Ibison said. “But this was the worst weather game I’ve ever played in.”
Like Tuesday night’s game, the 2017-2018 season has been a blur for the Buccaneers.
There have been (few) good moments, like the Buccaneers’ 5-2 win over Deltona on Dec. 1 and their 5-1 rout of University on Dec. 20.
But that’s it.
Flagler Palm Coast, which had only three wins entering its game against Mainland, held the Buccaneers (2-9-1) scoreless in a 5-0 win.
Mainland came close to scoring a handful of times throughout the contest. Its best opportunity was on a penalty kick near the start of the second half already down 3-0.
The shot was blocked with ease.
“We just didn’t play to our full form tonight,” Ibison said. “They came out as a better team, and they finished better as a better team.”
Buccaneers coach Mike Cole said the challenge this season has been getting his players to give a consistent effort each game.
“If they think they have a chance of winning, they play really hard,” he said. “But if they don’t think they can win, they don’t. I don’t know what happened tonight, but it was frustrating. It was very uncharacteristic of them.”
The Buccaneers are now heading into the thick of district play. Cole was hoping a win against the Bulldogs would have vaulted his team into fourth place in the district, which would have helped Mainland avoid playing a top-tier team in the first round of the district playoffs.
Going forward, Cole said he wants his team to focus less on what they’re doing wrong and more on what they’re doing right.
“I try not to beat them up,” he said. “I try to set smaller goals or smaller objectives for them. Just simple things. When that ball moves forward, can we get forward collectively as a team? When we have a goal kick, can we make the field a little bit narrower? I set minor objectives that are very tangible, so we can see after the game if we did A, B and C. If we did, good on you. If we didn’t, let’s work on it.”