Argos pair grab historic title

Two Cayman Islands footballers are still celebrating helping their university win their first ever national championship last weekend.

Jessica Ebanks and Shanice Montieth were members of the University of West Florida team that made the historic achievement.

National players Ebanks and Monteith won the USA College Division II league with the Argos for the first time in their long history.

They won the NCAA Division II Championships Final with a 1-0 victory over University of California San Diego. The Argonauts finished the season with a proud 24-1-0 record.

With less than 13 minutes left in the game and both teams locked in a defensive battle, Sashana Campbell found Chelsea Palmer with a cross and Palmer poked her foot out just far enough to score the only goal of the game.

Thiago Cunha is the technical director for the women’s programme here. He has seen Ebanks and Montieth develop from promising kids into brilliant young adults.

“I had the privilege to sit down and watch our national players be champions,” Cunha said. “The University of West Florida Coach Joe Bartlinski come down to Cayman Islands last December to scout our players.

“I was very happy that Shanice went to University of West Florida with a football scholarship. It’s very nice to see our young players winning titles abroad.

“Our Under-20 captain Jessica was there already playing at a very high level. I’m happy and proud. It was years of intense training and dedication.

“Our women players always believe and everything comes so fast for all of them. I would like to say thanks to coach Bartlinski in believing in our players.

“Cayman women’s football is growing so fast. Today we have 20 players outside Cayman Islands doing extremely well.

“We need to keep developing them day by day. I can see a lot of young talent. We are going into our fourth generation and they will be very good. You can see today that in 2016, 2017 you will see this generation accomplish a lot of things also. They don’t have limits. They will accomplish more and more.

Jessica Ebanks said: “Words cannot describe how amazing it feels. It is honestly so surreal that it still feels like a dream.

“This is my third season here at the University of West Florida and I knew it was going to be a special year because the team is so close and everybody works tremendously hard for each other on and off the field.

“Not only do the players deserve this national title but so does coach Bartlinski. He has worked tirelessly year after year to make this programme as reputable as it is.”

Jessica Ebanks and Shanice Montieth were members of the University of West Florida team that made the historic achievement.

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