Crystal River crushes Citrus

Will meet county rival Lecanto in the final.

By BRETT KELMAN Times Correspondent
Published January 25, 2007

LECANTO - Crystal River stomped Citrus 5-0 and Lecanto toppled Belleview 2-1 in the semifinals on Wednesday.

Crystal River took an early lead when sophomore forward Richard Wilson dished the ball to Nicholas Becker, who cracked an open shot into the net only three minutes after kickoff.

The Pirates scored two more on the long ball and another when left-side defender Jarrod Green drove the ball from midfield, shook two defenders and shot from 12 yards out. Green scored Crystal River's final goal on a penalty kick with 3:29 left.

Despite the scoring frenzy, Crystal River coach Mike Callaway said his senior-heavy defense, which only allowed seven shots, secured the win.

"These seniors have played together since they were 8 or 9. There is almost nobody better in the district," Callaway said of his defenders.

While the Pirates seemed to score at will, Lecanto's two first-half goals did not come so easily.

The first, a long free kick that squeaked through the Belleview wall, was tipped in by forward Brian Aleman. The second, a broken corner kick, was nicked by Nathan Swander and crawled into the goal.

Belleview rallied in the second half and scored on a power shot from senior John Sparrow, but the Panthers defense, which was missing starting sweeper Tyler Deem, rallied behind keeper Tyler Jordan. Jordan had 17 saves.

"Before the game I said, 'Next year we won't have Tyler (Deem.) We need to take tonight and show Coach what we will do next year,' " he said.