Seymour’s experience helps lead Knights to semifinals


May 13—Cate Seymour is a senior center back for Frederica Academy’s girls soccer team and has been instrumental in the girls’ success during her time as a Knight.

Her performance and leadership have helped lead the Knights to a semifinal appearance in the GISA state tournament. The way she presents herself is a prime example of what coach Gabe Gabriel wants the Frederica soccer culture to be.

“That’s nice to have because you can talk about it all you want, but if you don’t have that example to point towards, sometimes you can point to examples in other places, but to have one right here at your school playing on your team, it makes it a lot easier,” Gabriel said. “She’s been a good role model for our girls and the middle school girls to look to.

“If you want to make it as a really good soccer player or have an opportunity to play in college, she’s provided a great example for that. And she’s just showing the girls what that standard is and what that takes.”

Seymour has been with Gabriel for the last three years and said she stands out on the field for a few reasons.

“I think the things that stand out about Cate is that she has a passion for the game, but just the amount of work she’s willing to put in being a leader on and off the field,” Gabriel said. “She’s great academically, as well as being pretty good at soccer. Cate really committed to soccer early on. So she’s played down in Jacksonville and up in Savannah, basically since she was, I would want to say, 12, but it could be earlier than that. So she has traveled a lot.”

As the Knights travel to Macon to take on Holy Spirit Prep in the semifinal game, Gabriel said that the experience she’s gotten from playing club soccer will help the younger girls.

“I think it’s huge because she’s played in atmospheres and at levels of play that will be similar, or maybe higher than this semifinal,” Gabriel said. “She’ll be a calming presence to the group and one that can coach from the field. She is excellent at communicating on the field, which is huge for us.

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“So I think all of that will be a major asset for us in a big match, like a semifinal or knockout match — especially the younger girls haven’t experience unless they play club soccer, and haven’t experienced it at this level. So it’ll be massive for us.”

Her communication on the field is unique to a high school soccer player because not all of them can keep their composure and emotions under control.

“She’s good at giving them information in a way that they can handle it,” Gabriel said. “So it’s not always just getting on to them. It may be giving them a pointer here, getting them a compliment there, getting onto them at times, but always going back and forth with positive reinforcement, which is really mature for a high schooler to be able to do. She’s been great with that. That’s hard at times, especially in intense games, but it’s pretty impressive that she’s able to balance those two things.”

Despite being one of the center backs for the team, Seymour has racked up around 15 goals on the season. Usually, center backs only get a couple of goals because a center back’s main objective is not to give up any goals.

“To be able to contribute from that deep or far back away from the opponent’s goal with 15 goals is really impressive,” Gabriel said. “You’re talking about her only chances are really going to be if she’s able to bring it up herself if she’s able to score off set pieces — so she takes all of our corners, she takes all of our free kicks. That’s really the only opportunity she has, so to convert 15 of those chances — it’s a pretty impressive number.”

Seymour won’t be able to do it all herself, as it’ll have to be a total team effort on Friday to keep the Knight’s state title dreams alive.

To prepare for Holy Spirit, Gabriel said they’re going to take advantage of the time they have this week to get some good practice in at intense levels along with getting their organizational stuff in line for Friday.

“At the end of the day, we’re really not going to change anything because I think we just got to focus on being the best we can be,” Gabriel said. “I’ve heard some things about Holy Spirit, I think they’re going to be a good team, but at the end of the day, if we do what we’re supposed to do, and do all the little things that we should be, we should have a decent result.”

At 13-1-2 on the season and 10-0 in region play, Frederica has only given up six goals all season. However, the last two games were a little tougher for the Knights, which Gabriel said helped his young team grow and figure out some things to fine-tune before Friday’s game.

“We’ve figured out some more areas where we need to work — maybe it’s getting a little bit sharper in that attacking third or figuring out our forward movement,” Gabriel said. “Just kind of fine-tuning those things to create more goalscoring chances and then score more goals. The strongest point of our group has been how solid we’ve been in our pace and our defense. We’ve been able to build from that.”

Frederica and Holy Spirit will battle it out at Mercer University on Friday, with the game slated to start at 4 p.m.



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