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St. Augustine at Crystal River

By KELLIE DIXON
Published February 1, 2007


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About St. Augustine (10-7-2)

A No. 3 seed in the district, St. Augustine scored in the last minute to win in the semis, then lost in the closing minutes to Ponte Vedra Beach Nease in the final. "They have both tastes on their palate," coach Anthony Sangari said. 'They're not going to be surprised by anything. They don't want to lose again, I can tell you that."

The team's focus now, Sangari said, is to play with consistency. That is nothing the team can practice so Sangari and his coaches are sticking with chalk talks. When the Yellow Jackets are consistent, they like to keep the ball on the ground, pass the ball around and try to score that way.

Players to watch: Pol Berengeur, a strong, physically-fit senior center-midfielder with 19 goals who finishes with either foot and readily dishes to his teammates if he's opposed. Caleb Sturgis, a striker with 18 goals who can score from anywhere. Sturgis has scored three or four goals from 30-plus yards on set plays. John Fraser, a 6-foot-2 senior goalkeeper with size, a big punt and a knack for clearing the frame. His one weakness is playing off his line.

About Crystal River (16-3-4)

The Pirates squeaked out the title win to earn the team's first district championship and home playoff game since 2002.

Spread it out: The Pirates' goal today is to possess the ball well, attack the width and look for the cross. "We're trying to attack more from the wing because we bunch up in the middle too much," sophomore forward-midfielder Richard Wilson said.

Get rid of it: All season the Pirates have preached using minimal touches, one or two at the most, coach Michael Callaway said, near the 18. It's too dangerous to play with it. But the Pirates, who have 15 shutouts, got a real-life reminder last week against Lecanto. "We thought, 'It's not going to happen. We're a good team,' " keeper Alex Crandall said. "The one time it happens, (Lecanto) puts a goal in, and that was big for them." Miscommunication between Crandall and defender Jarrod Green gave Lecanto momentum the rest of the half. Crandall suspects St. Augustine would capitalize more.

Players to watch: Matthew Zarek, defensive midfielder with 17 goals has a quick foot from outside the 18. Forwards Wilson (eight goals) and Xavier Villachica (10) can beat a defender and go to goal. Nick Becker (nine goals) is good with the cross.

Injury report: Right defender Sean Mulligan is questionable (spider bite).

[Last modified February 1, 2007, 06:42:07]


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