Posta answers challengeBy CAREY FREEMAN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 15, 2002
If Alex Posta is the kind of player an opponent can only hope to contain, then Lecanto deserves some credit.
For 77 minutes in a Class 2A, District 7 showdown Friday, the Panthers did just that, holding off one of the most prolific scorers in county history while building a two-goal lead on Citrus.
But players like Posta can be contained only so long.
With the Hurricanes trailing 2-1 in the final minutes, the diminutive but deadly Posta scored his 20th goal of the season to forge a 2-2 tie.
"We let it slip away in the last 14 minutes," said Lecanto coach Bruce Sheffield. "But you've got to give Citrus a lot of credit. They just kept coming."
Good thing for the 'Canes.
With the tie, Citrus (8-8-4, 6-1-2 in 2A-7) has at least a shot at sharing the top record in the district with Crystal River. With a victory and a tie against the Hurricanes, the Pirates (10-2-2, 7-0-1)would win the tie-breaker. Still, Citrus gets a first-round bye and a little confidence entering a difficult final stretch that includes games against Central (Friday), Gulf (Jan. 21) and Springstead (Jan. 22).
"Considering the first 70 minutes, it was a moral victory," Hurricanes coach Ian Feldt said. "I think my guys came out very complacent and Lecanto came out exactly the opposite.
"I think tying Lecanto is a real blessing," he said. "If we'd come in and beat them, I'm afraid we would have come into districts and been complacent. This was a wake-up call."
BIG-TIME LOSS: Crystal River went undefeated last week, but that didn't keep the Pirates from suffering a large setback.
Senior stopper Brad Deitemeyer, recently cleared to return from a hairline fracture in his right foot, may be lost for the season after reinjuring the foot in a 9-0 win over Dunnellon. Junior Morgan Rise will fill in.
"It hurts," Crystal River coach Bobby Verlato said. "When we lose Brad, we lose our offensive push at stopper. Defensively, we'll be all right, but we'll lose some scoring.
"We'll probably be without him for the rest of the year, but we may get him back for districts."
Deitemeyer (six goals, seven assists) was not just a good defender. His ability to push upfield and his booming right leg made him an offensive threat.
BIG GAME: Crystal River needs a win at Lecanto (7-7-2, 4-3-2) on Wednesday to clinch the top spot in the 2A-7 tournament.
Despite the records, that's easier said than done.
The Pirates led by two goals in the second half of the last meeting before the Panthers rallied for two scores -- one in the final minute -- to forge a tie.
CANCELED: Monday's Crystal River-Ocala Vanguard game was canceled due to poor field conditions at Ocala's Booster Stadium
STARS: County scoring and assist leader Josh Caldwell (23 goals, 12 assists) had 8 goals in 2 games last week -- 3 scores in Crystal River's win over Dunnellon and 5 in a 10-0 victory against Hernando. ... Pirates teammate Kyle Nayfield (9 goals, 11 assists) recorded 2 goals and 7 assists in the same span. ... Posta had five goals in games against Leesburg, Hernando and Lecanto.
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