JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It took a full high school career, but Olivia Candelino finally started getting comfortable what everyone else already knew.
She’s an electric scorer.
The Bolles star forward, and All-News4Jax girls soccer player of the year, wrapped up a sterling career by pacing the Bulldogs during the most visible season across the board in area history.
St. Johns Country Day won its ninth consecutive title.
Bartram Trail and Bishop Kenny won their first championships.
And Bolles, with Candelino leading the way, pulled off the first threepeat in program history. The Auburn signee scored 41 goals and had 40 assists in a showcase season that put a stamp on just how much Candelino had grown in her career.
It took a loss three years earlier followed by a shift in mindset to push Candelino and the Bulldogs to their very best.
Candelino started her career at Bolles as a complementary piece, playing midfield and learning from Bulldogs forwards Leila Azari and Leah Ferlin. That season ended with a 2-1 loss to Montverde in the state semifinals, a turning point, she said, that helped Bolles unlock its full potential.
“I feel like that fueled my next three years to be able to go back to back and know not to want that feeling ever again,” she said.
That was the last time that Candelino and the Bulldogs would have that type of feeling together. One by one, the title seasons stacked up after that.
Candelino’s growth was explosive in that span.
Candelino was a very good player when she arrived at Bolles, but the shift took place over her final three seasons there. A move to forward to capitalize on Candelino’s athleticism opened things up for the Bulldogs.
She could always distribute, but by her sophomore season Candelino’s goal-scoring prowess emerged alongside her ability to incorporate teammates into the offense. That’s where the next part of her growth occurred because Candelino said that she’s had difficulty thinking of herself as a dominant scorer. Her assist totals grew along with her goal scoring. As a sophomore, Candelino had a 28-goal, 22-assist stat line. As a junior, she was 33-25. In her final year, the blend between goal scoring and distributing was nearly identical.
“I think maybe even this year would be my first time where I’m finally comfortable knowing my capabilities with goal scoring,” she said. “Playing with so many different girls I learned so many different things. I don’t feel like I’m ever going to be comfortable with the amount of goal scoring that I’m capable of, but I feel like definitely this year, it’s starting to click more. I definitely evolved into it.”
The All-News4Jax girls soccer team was compiled with input and nominations from area coaches.
Position, Player, School, Class, Notable
F Olivia Candelino, Bolles, Sr.: All-News4Jax player of the year led Bulldogs to 23-6 record and Class 3A state title. Class 3A state player of the year. Auburn signee had 41 goals and 40 assists.
F Delmis Reyes, Englewood, Sr.: Runner-up in voting for Class 5A player of the year, she scored 62 goals and had 15 assists for 12-8 Rams.
MF Paige Crews, St. Johns CD, Jr.: Had 12 goals and 12 assists to lead Spartans to their ninth consecutive state championship. Class 2A state player of the year. Committed to TCU.
MF Ella Dudley, Bartram Trail, Sr.: The Bears were deep and powerful across the board, but Dudley was the team’s best (12 goals, 7 assists). She helped the Bears go 21-1-3 and win the 7A state crown.
MF Morgan Schooley, Menendez, Sr.: Had 30 goals and 9 assists and always played well in the biggest matches. Led Falcons to their first playoff win this season.
MF Delaney Tauzel, Creekside, Sr.: Injured all but two games of her junior season, she had 13 goals and 7 assists this year and helped lead the Knights to the Class 6A state semifinals. Had 31 goals, 14 assists in her career.
D Makayla Parkes, Ponte Vedra, Sr.: Anchored Sharks’ rock solid defense, helping lead them to the Class 5A state semifinals and go 16-6-4.
D Haynes Grant, Bishop Kenny, Sr.: Team-best 20 goals as a defender. Added 5 assists for Class 4A state champs. UNF signee.
D Paige Hunt, Bartram Trail, Sr.: Anchored a defense that allowed just 16 goals all season and finished ranked No. 1 in the country by MaxPreps. Scored 5 goals. Troy signee.
D Aubrey Ramey, Bolles, Sr.: Mentioned by multiple coaches as the area’s top defender. Helped Bulldogs post 15 shutouts. DePaul signee had 6 goals and 3 assists this season.
GK Gabby Calidonio, Flagler Palm Coast, Jr.: Allowed 15 goals all season and posted shutouts in 14 of 24 games. Made 164 saves and had 0.625 GAA.
Position, Player, School, Class, Notable
F Imani Ashman, Stanton, Sr.: Had 16 goals and a pair of assists this season and had 82 scores in her career.
F Chloe Iuliano, Bishop Kenny, Sr.: Played in just 14 games, but had 18 goals and 13 assists and earned 4A player of the year honors. Mississippi State signee.
F Eli Mabe, Ponte Vedra, Jr.: Had team-best 15 goals for the Sharks during run to state semifinals.
MF Hannah Johnson, Oakleaf, Jr.: Accounted for 36 goals, 19 assists for Knights.
MF Morgan McDonald, Bartram Trail, So.: One coach called her the Bears’ best overall player. Had 7 goals and a pair of assists.
MF Logan Nicholson, Nease, Sr.: Solid player on a team that struggled this season. Has signed with New Hampshire.
MF Avery Patterson, Bolles, Sr.: One of the top choices of area coaches, she missed the bulk of the season, but scored 14 goals in 8 games and had a pair of assists. UNC signee.
MF Jori Follenweider, Bartram Trail, So.: Had 10 goals and 4 assists and dubbed the one of the team’s most relentless players.
D Maddie Moody, St. Johns CD, Jr.: Big reason why Spartans went 24-1 and allowed just 9 goals all season.
D Breanna Robinson, Creekside, So.: Four assists and a pair of goals, but her most noticeable work came on defense.
GK Sophie Hefner, Bishop Kenny, Sr.: Battled injuries early, but a rock in goal during Crusaders’ run to the state championship. Had 8 shutouts and 54 saves for Kenny.
Position, Player, School, Class
GK Alexis Agramonte, St. Johns CD, Jr.
D Gianni Badon, Creekside, Jr.
F Olivia Bori, Bartram Trail, Sr.
F Madelyn Debski, Stanton, Sr.
GK Avery Dewitt, Fletcher, Sr.
MF Morgan Eubanks, Atlantic Coast, Jr.
F Kirsten Garner, Columbia, Sr.
F Danielle Garvey, Keystone Heights, Sr.
GK Isabella Goodwin, St. Joseph, Sr.
F Logan Gonzales, Mandarin
GK Neveah Hester, Clay, Sr.
F Morgan Hosier, Fleming Island, Sr.
F Abigail Jones, Episcopal, Jr.
F Izzy Kimberly, Bolles, Jr.
MF Hannah Lemieux, St. Johns CD, So.
MF Ava O’Malley, Matanzas, Fr.
MF Lillian Mace, Ponte Vedra, Sr.
MF Maggie Mace, Ponte Vedra, So.
MF Lauryn Mateo, St. Johns CD, Fr.
D Lexi Pitt, Bolles, So.
F Andrea Pelfrey, Baker County, Sr.
D Camille Prosswimmer, Stanton, Sr.
F Olivia Surrency, Creekside, So.
MF Maddie Tibbitts, St. Joseph, So.
MF Madi Waltz, Fletcher, Sr.
D Reese Wheeler, Bartram Trail, So.
D Jada Williams, Flagler Palm Coast, So.