Wellington Landings Squad Wins County Girls Soccer Title

The Wellington Landings Middle School girls soccer team celebrates their county title victory.

For the second straight year, the Wellington Landings Middle School girls soccer team (11-1-1) has won the Palm Beach County middle school soccer championship.

The big win — a 3-0 victory over Don Estridge Middle School — took place on Tuesday, April 11 at Village Park in Wellington.

Wellington Landings also defeated Don Estridge in last year’s county final, 2-0.

For Caitlin Waites, head coach of the Wellington Landings Middle School’s girls soccer team, it was her second county championship victory in as many seasons as the team’s leader.

In the championship match, the twin-sister tandem of Ella and Isla Oldham accounted for all three of the goals for Wellington Landings. Ella scored twice, while Isla scored once.

The two goalkeepers for Wellington Landings — seventh grader Sydni Ibana and eighth grader Eleanor Kelley — combined to keep Don Estridge at bay.

“My keepers are both returning players,” said Waites, who teaches language arts and physical education at Wellington Landings. “I tried to split the games between the girls by quarters or by halves. Once we got into the playoffs, Sydni started every game, and Eleanor came in during the second half. Two of our three playoff games went into penalty kicks. Eleanor had all the confidence in the world to stop them, and she did in both games. She stopped two penalty kicks in each game, helping us claim the victory.”

Their job was made easier by strong defensive performances by teammates Marleigh Suniga (eighth grade), Kaylee Kendall (seventh grade), Mia Ciezak (eighth grade) and Parker Leimberger (sixth grade).

“The girls worked together and made sure to stop the majority of the shots from even getting to our keepers,” Waites said.

According to Waites, the entire team, even the non-starters, worked together from the beginning of the season and throughout the championship game.

“Every single one of them earned the title of back-to-back champions when it comes to this team,” Waites said. “I have been very lucky to not only be their coach, but to be a small part of their lives watching them grow as players and young ladies. This age can be difficult with finding a group of girls who mesh well all the way around, and for the last two years, that’s exactly what this team has had.”

According to Waites, her players are great teammates on the field and remain in sync with one another off the field.

“Both years, I have had an amazing team full of girls with heart and the desire to win,” Waites said. “Every practice, every game and every team bonding experience allowed us to produce the season we had. Our team breakfasts on game days were a huge way for the girls to bond, especially at the beginning of the season. It allowed them to come out of their comfort zone and talk to each other about other things besides soccer. I love watching them laugh and joke around and hype each other up on game days. It truly is a special team to be part of. I am so incredibly proud of this team and what they have accomplished.”

The Wellington Landings Middle School team roster this season featured a mix of all grade levels, including eighth graders Marleigh Suniga, Luciana Pardo De Figuera, Mia Ciezak, Isla Oldham, Ella Oldham and Eleanor Kelley; seventh graders Sydni Ibana, Jordan Huber, Macey Gunsalus, Ariella Sevilla, Sienna Morales, Kaylee Kendall and Quinn Mawhinney; and sixth graders Zoe McCrannels, Chayse Ludlam, Parker Leimberger, Sofia Davila, Laney Browne and Leah Browne.