Beaufort Academy soccer starts journey for fourth straight state title
Every school in northern Beaufort County was affected by reclassification before the athletic calendar begin last fall. Some teams faced stiffer competition and others, like Beaufort Academy boys soccer, hope to benefit.
The Eagles are coming off three consecutive state titles in SCISA’s A/AA flex classification.
This year, the only games that will count toward Beaufort Academy’s division record will be those against Class A opponents. The Eagles will still play several Class AA teams in their non-region schedule.
The coach of Beaufort Academy’s powerhouse program, Bill Dalton, thinks the slight step down in competition is coming at a perfect time.
“Ryan Muniz , David Mathai, Thomas Holiday, those are our only returning starters,” Dalton said. “Everybody else from the starters to the reserves is going to be new to varsity, so it’s going to be a major, major turnover, rebuild, whatever you want to call it.
“So this may be the most challenging year in a while, but it was made easier when they changed the alignment.”
Dalton has the luxury of returning two bona fide stars from last year’s championship squad in Muniz and Mathai.
The former learned how to play soccer in Germany and competes on travel teams year-round. Muniz, who is known for offense, signed with Mary Washington (Va.) two weeks ago.
Mathai, the Eagles’ freshman goalkeeper last year, has already displayed a knack for competing in top form when it matters most.
“David was a big player for us last year in the playoffs and especially in the finals,” Dalton said. “He’s going to be a huge, important part of our team this year.”
The rest of the roster will need to earn their roles. Eight of them play on the basketball team. Beaufort Academy made a nice run on the hardwood into the state semifinals, so Dalton got his full team together a little later than normal.
One player Dalton was eager to get back was freshman Dawson Coleman.
“Dawson had a really nice freshman basketball season,” Dalton said. “He’s not a year-round soccer player, but he’s a very good soccer player. I’m looking forward to seeing how he develops when he gets full-time varsity action.”
Players in position battles had their first shot at impressing Dalton last weekend when the Eagles competed in the Kings Academy jamboree.
Beaufort Academy travels to St. Andrew’s on Thursday.