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Gulf proud of great season

By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 17, 2002

NEW PORT RICHEY -- It was a long ride home from Jacksonville Tuesday night, not so much because Gulf's season had ended, but because the Bucs knew it could have lasted longer.

"They were disappointed, but they were also proud of what they accomplished," coach Sam Koleduk said. "It's just that they knew they could have won that game."

A 3-2 loss to Bartram Trail ended a season that saw Gulf lead the county with 18 wins, finish within a point of a conference crown and earn the program's first playoff spot and victory in nine years.

"The main thing is that we're turning around the athletics at Gulf High School," said Koleduk, noting a district title in wrestling and breakout boys basketball season. "At the end of that game Tuesday, I had seven underclassmen on the field. We just have to keep that attitude going."

That attitude started with a 9-0 win in the season opener and kept going through back-to-back overtime games in the district tournament. The Buccaneers (18-8-4) needed a late goal in regulation and penalty kicks to get past Pasco and into the playoffs, but fell short of a district title with an overtime loss to Land O'Lakes.

Senior Alex Maric had 41 goals -- more than twice as many as any other county player -- and is one of six graduating seniors, joining defenders Nick Kaller, Ryan Kaller, Dave Timmons and Brad Stanley and midfielder Adam Stosur.

Maric is talking to coaches from Saint Leo and the University of Tampa, among others, but the Buccaneers will have two capable offensive threats in his brothers, freshmen Novica and Bosho, who will return at center midfield.

Goalkeeper Brandon King, who finished with 11 shutouts, will return for his senior season, and the team's second-leading scorer, junior Drew Roberts, had both goals in the loss to Bartram Trail. On the front line, two late-season, junior-varsity call-ups, Steve Perviance and Ricky Diaz, both scored in the district tournament.

"We're going to go back and I think the county is going to be more even," said Koleduk, who has seen talented players attend school elsewhere. "Hopefully, seeing what this team has done, kids that are supposed to be coming to Gulf will come here and be a part of this."

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