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Wishing for a little good luck

Hernando is missing its starting goalkeeper, and Central opens against a team it has lost to twice.

By BRANT JAMES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 27, 2002


BROOKSVILLE -- The good news for Hernando coach Rick Ahrens is his lineup is as close to the preseason projected starting group as it has been since the Leopards' first game, when injuries and losses began to accumulate.

The bad news is days before the Class 2A, District 7 Tournament at Lecanto, where Hernando (1-7-2) is seeded fifth, he's without starting goalkeeper Karen Ferrigno. She is on crutches after twisting her ankle playing softball in gym class.

Though his team finally is playing "with some passion" and won this week for just the second time (2-0 against Hudson), Ahrens has no idea what to expect when district play begins Monday.

"Who knows?" Ahrens said. "It's high school sports. You never know what can happen."

That fact is compounded, he said, by a tournament played on a field he considers sub-par and filled with losing squads. "If I was (top-seeded) Citrus and Lecanto, I'd be worried," Ahrens said. "If you tweak an ankle or somebody gets a cold or a little cockiness ... and Lecanto's field is like playing in a war zone.

"You never know how the bounces are going to go, and you have a bracket pelted with teams with .500 or worse records," he said.

Central coach Hank Deslaurier hopes his team's luck will change.

The Bears, seeded fifth with a 1-5-2 district record, open the Class 3A-7 tournament Monday at Delta Woods Park with a 7 p.m. game against Springstead (3-5). The Eagles beat Central 2-0 and 5-0 in the schools' previous meetings.

"We gave up some unlucky goals," Deslaurier said. "But it's tough to beat a team three times."

Deslaurier may give the Eagles a different look with a 4-3-3 (four defenders, three midfielders, three forwards) set, but the Bears will need a big effort from leading scorer (10 goals) Christy Cullen.

"We've had difficulty generating offense," Deslaurier said. "Some days we come out and play real well, sometimes we don't."

Springstead finally has come out scoring.

"In the first five or six games, we scored three (goals)," Eagles coach Randy Strat said. "Now we're up to 24 goals this season, and 15 of them have come in the last four games."

Sarah Bell leads the squad with seven goals.

-- Staff writer Brant James can be reached at (800) 333-7505, ext. 1407. Send e-mail to brant@sptimes.com.

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