GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The Eastside girls and boys soccer teams are set to compete for a state championship with the title match featuring several familial ties as four sets of siblings play for the Eagles.
The girls team features two sets of siblings: Senior Jillian Witbeck and sophomore Madeline Witbeck as well as senior Taylor Nutzman and freshman Payton Nutzman.
Meanwhile two other sets are represented on both teams: Senior Kaleb Craig and his sister, freshman Kennedy, as well as senior Jack Redmond and his sister Kate, a sophomore.
“We always played together in the backyard when we were younger and then his love for soccer kind of encouraged me to love soccer,” said Kate. “It’s exciting because my dad gets to see both of us play for a state title. It’s a big deal.”
Kennedy is also coached by her father, David, who leads the girls team.
“It’s pretty neat to see that many siblings all involved,” David Craig said. “It’s such a really neat experience…To be one of the last two teams standings both on the boys side and girls side speaks volumes as to what we’ve done as a program.”
“It’s been a lot of fun because I know my brother and a lot of his teammates worked really hard to get here,” Kennedy said. “And I know that when I step up on the field I don’t take it as [he’s] my dad I take it as [he’s] my coach and he really pushes me and he pushes everyone else on the team, too.”
“It’s really been special this year watching her play,” Kaleb said. “It’s just really special to me. I get to share that bond with her and all the other girls on the team, too. It’s basically a big family pretty much.”
The girls team finished 8-0 in the region and is 17-4 overall. They’ll take on defending champion James Island for the AAAA title on Friday, May 13 at 5:30 p.m.
The boys team also finished 8-0 in the region and is 19-2-1 overall. They’ll battle North Augusta in the AAAA championship match on Friday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m.
The Nutzman sisters, along with Kennedy Craig, received All-Region honors. Meanwhile Kaleb Craig and Jack Redmond were named to the All-State team by the South Carolina Soccer Coaches Association.