The Seminole girls finish the season 31-0 with a state title, and top ranked in the state and country. Photo: Scott A. Miller


Seminole downs West Orange 10-6 for first state title

MIAMI – During a quiet moment in a small grotto behind the swimming complex at Belen Jesuit after all the celebration, tears, and photos, goalkeeper Cassidy Hardin sat amongst her team, a gold crown adorning her head, clutching tightly the FHSAA State Champions trophy.

It was a fitting moment for the Senior whose nine saves helped her team beat West Orange 10-6 and finish the season on top: with a 31-0 record and crowned as State Champions.

“When we were leaving (school) I said we had a mission, we were undefeated and now we are bringing gold home to Bokey,” Hardin said shortly after getting her state champion medal with the trophy already in tow.

Hardin finished the year eighth in the nation with 212 saves and combined with Freshman Julia Pando had four shutouts leading a defense that was stellar all season.

“Cassidy had what I think was the game of her career,” Seminole coach Ryan Ackerson said. “But a lot of them had the defensive game of their careers.

Lead by a pair of freshmen – Raelyn Bouley with 5 while Gabby Pierson with 4, the Noles defense had 16 steals and 7 exclusions drawn in the game, ending the year with 410 steals, as well 160 exclusions drawn.

“It was a little sloppy at times, but every loose ball we won, and I think we were the more physical team,” the coach added.

Coach Ryan Ackerson speaks to his team following their win.

The girls celebrate in the pool following their win.


As she had numerous times on the season, Vivian Swain found a teammate near the goal to set up the opening score of the game.  

The sophomore took the ball down the middle, sending a high looping pass to Fiona Pando to set up the game’s first goal. Swain had 5 assists in the game to give her a nation-leading 90 on the season.


West Orange answered quickly to tie the game before Pando got the second of her 3 goals on the day five minutes into the game. Seminole’s third goal came when Hardin stole the ball from a West Orange attacker, sending it to Halle Zimlich for her first of 4 goals.


Zimlich added 3 steals and 4 exclusions drawn in the win. On the season, Zimlich led the Noles with a nation’s best 204 points – 158 goals and 46 assists. As a team they finished the year with 806 points – 364 assists and 442 goals.


“All season we have been a team that feels out the game the first quarter, and then makes adjustments,” Ackerson said. “We switched up our defense, and the way we ran the defense is how we won the game.”


After the changes Ackerson and the Seminole made, it was the Noles game going up 5-3 at the half. But it was the third quarter when the Noles exerted their dominance shutting down the West Orange attack and outscoring the Warriors 4-0. From there winning was starting to become a reality as was an impressive 31-0 season.


“It was never our goal (to go undefeated),” Ackerson said. “Our goal was always to win the final five games of the season, but this is a definite bonus.”


The other bonus, the Noles also finish the season as the nation’s top-ranked team.

The girls get their medals following their win.

Photos by Emily Miller and Scott A. Miller