Girls district soccer tournaments
By VINCENT THOMAS and DAVID MURPHY
Published January 15, 2006
Admission for all games is $5.
CLASS 5A-7 WHERE: Gator Stadium, Land O'Lakes.
WHEN: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
SEEDS: No. 1 River Ridge (6-1-1); No. 2 Land O'Lakes (6-2); No. 3 Central (5-2-1); No. 4 Ridgewood (2-6); No. 5 Wesley Chapel (0-8).
SCHEDULE: Tuesday - Ridgewood vs. Wesley Chapel, 7 p.m. Wednesday - River Ridge vs. Ridgewood/Wesley Chapel winner, 6 p.m.; Land O'Lakes vs. Central, 8 p.m . Friday - Championship, 7 p.m.
OUTLOOK: When you figure it out, let us know. The top three seeds more or less split their season series with each other (Central tied River Ridge after losing to the Knights earlier in the season) and it will be interesting to see who emerges as champion. Land O'Lakes is the perennial power, but River Ridge has been the best team throughout the season. As the old cliche goes, it's anyone's ballgame.
CLASS 4A-8 WHERE: Springstead.
WHEN: Monday-Wednesday and Friday
SEEDS: No. 1 Springstead (14-0); No. 2 Zephyrhills (10-2-2); No. 3 Pasco (8-5-1); No. 4 Gulf (6-4-4); No. 5 Nature Coast (6-6-2); No. 6 Hudson (3-9-2); No. 7 Hernando (3-10-1); No. 8 South Sumter (0-14)
SCHEDULE: Monday - Zephyrhills vs. Hernando, 5 p.m.; Springstead vs. South Sumter, 7 p.m.; Tuesday - Gulf vs. Nature Coast, 5 p.m.; Pasco vs. Hudson, 7 p.m.; Wednesday - Semifinals (Winner of Zephyrhills/Hernando vs. Winner of Pasco/Hudson, 5 p.m.; Winner of Springstead/South Sumter vs. Winner of Gulf/Nature Coast, 7 p.m.); Friday - Championship, 7 p.m.
OUTLOOK: If it isn't obvious by looking at the district records, we'll spell it out: S-P-R-I-N-G-S-T-E-A-D. The Eagles have dominated the district this year, and with junior juggernaut Angela Passafaro and her 1-billion goals on the field, it is hard to imagine them not doing the same in the tournament. So who's fighting for second? Zephyrhills and Pasco, which seem to be set for a quarterfinal showdown Wednesday. Luckily for one of them, second place in the district still gets a playoff spot.
COACH: Amy Ellis
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Bears are led by twin seniors Danielle and Kim Brown. Danielle is third in the county in scoring with 24 goals; Kim is a dual threat, who has 19 goals as a forward but likely will play goalkeeper. Defender Kathy Mince is another outstanding senior who has been a big part of the Bears' success. Despite playing sweeper, she is third on the team in scoring. Ellis said three quarters of Mince's goals have come off headers on cornerkicks.
OUTLOOK: As Ellis said, the Bears are just as capable as River Ridge and Land O'Lakes, but in order to make the championship game, they'll have to play like it. Central opens against Land O'Lakes, which it defeated at home and lost to on the road. The Gators, of course, are hosting the tournament.
COACHES: Elizabeth Holley and Penny Mecklenburg.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Danielle Coopman is one of the Leopards 'more talented players in the field, while Casey Davidson holds down goalkeeping responsibilities.
OUTLOOK: In a deep district in which cross-town rival Springstead is king, the Leopards have a tough road ahead of them. The seventh seed, the Leopards open up against Zephyrhills, whose only losses have come to Springstead.
COACH: Phil Bennett
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Jaleesa Scott has had every bit the season that Springstead's Angela Passafaro has had. And Scott has done so on a team that plays, at least, five freshmen. Those freshmen, particularly Cassie Freeman and the three Brittanys (Brittany Allen, Brittany MacDonald and Brittany Maniatis), have bolstered a squad that improved as the season went on. Senior captain Zayshieg Beach is an aggressive defender for the Sharks. Angela Magid is the Sharks; second-leading scorer.
OUTLOOK: Nature Coast meets Gulf in the first round. The teams tied 2-all in their first meeting. Gulf, however, dominated the Sharks in the second game, winning 6-2. With so many young and inexperienced players, the Sharks will have a tough time advancing far in the playoffs, especially since they likely would face Springstead in the semifinals. But with Scott, anything is possible. The senior is capable of winning games almost by herself. The Sharks will need one of those performances from Scott and for the freshmen to play beyond their years if they expect to advance.
COACH: Polo Furlong
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Eagles probably are the most talented team in the county and district. It starts with junior forward Angela Passafaro. Entering Friday night, she had scored 37 goals and tallied 16 assists. Her scoring partner this season has been Christina Anthony, another junior forward. After scoring just eight goals last season, Anthony has 22 goals and 20 assists this year. Then there are midfielders Nicky Faulkner and Ashley Johns. They don't do as much scoring as last year, but create many of the opportunities for Passafaro and Anthony. Defender Jackie Holtje and goalkeeper Amber Collard anchor a defense that posted eight shutouts this season.
OUTLOOK: Pigs flying might be easier to envision than Springstead failing to make the final. But as Passafaro said earlier this season, "anything can happen." The Eagles kick off districts against South Sumter, whom they beat a combined 17-0 in their two regular-season meetings. If they beat South Sumter, they'll play the winner of the Nature Coast-Gulf contest. The Eagles handled Nature Coast 5-0 and 3-0 and beat Gulf 5-1 and 3-1. After a disappointing first-round loss to Citrus in last season's District 9 playoffs, Springstead can't afford to take anything for granted.
[Last modified January 15, 2006, 01:47:20]
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