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Boys soccer Region quarterfinals preview

A closer look

By BRANDON WRIGHT
Published February 1, 2007


All games start at 7 tonight, unless noted. Admission is $6 per game

Class 6A

Durant (12-4-2) at Countryside (26-0-1)

Players to watch: Mike Guiliano and Eric Barnes, defenders, Countryside. Sweeper Eddie Lopez anchors the back line, but these underrated outside backs have had excellent seasons.

Skinny: The Cougars open their run to back-to-back state titles fully aware their unblemished record and accolades (No. 1 in the nation according to studentsportssoccer.com and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America) don't mean squat in the postseason one-and-done format.

 

Class 5A

Chamberlain (11-5-0) at Palm Harbor (17-4-1)

Player to watch: Sebastien Millette, midfielder, PHU. Does a lot of the dirty work in the midfield.

Skinny: Chamberlain lost a heartbreaker in the district final to Hillsborough, blowing a two-goal lead in the final 10 minutes of regulation and losing on penalty kicks. The Hurricanes, last year's 5A state champs, seem to be hitting their stride at the right time.

Lakewood (12-3) at Southeast (14-7-1)

Player to watch: Mark Zeller, midfielder, Southeast. Scored the Seminoles' only goal in regulation, then added a penalty kick and stopped one in win against Manatee.

Skinny: Seminole won its district in a physical match with Manatee on Friday. When the Spartans play quick and work the ball around they are a dangerous team. When they don't ...ugh.

Manatee (16-7-2) at Seminole (11-6-5)

Player to watch: Christian Raudales, forward, Manatee. Ultra-quick striker with tremendous footwork and creativity.

Skinny: This might be the best matchup in the area and it could be a wild one. Both teams are extremely physical and not afraid to mix it up. Manatee, which combined with PHU for 11 yellow cards in last year's region semifinal, had four players sent off for double yellow cards in the district final this season.

East Lake (12-7-4) at Hillsborough (9-5-1)

Player To Watch: Charlie Coggin, keeper, East Lake. Towering, imposing presence between the woodwork.

Skinny: The Terriers captured their first district title last week. Congrats, your prize is a first-round matchup with an Eagles team much better than their record indicates.

 

Class 3A

Cardinal Mooney (8-5-3) at Clearwater Central Catholic (13-6-3)

Player to watch: Adam Martin, keeper, CCC. Martin was my player to watch in the district tourney preview, too, but his intense play dictates CCC's defense.

Skinny: Cardinal Mooney is paced by Tom McCabe, who scored both the Cougars' goals in their district final loss. If the Marauders play with the intensity they displayed in a district final win against CCC, they'll be fine.

St. Petersburg Catholic (11-2-3) at Fort Myers Bishop Verot (11-6-2)

Player to watch: Weston Wall, midfielder, SPC. Creative midfielder makes SPC's offense tick.

Skinny: Bishop Verot nearly blew a three-goal lead against Cardinal Mooney in the district final but hung on for the win. SPC needs to keep close tabs on Michael Jeffrey, who leads Bishop Verot with 28 goals.

 

Class 2A

Calvary Christian (15-6-2) at Tampa Prep (22-3-2)

Player to watch: Ryan Griffin, forward, Tampa Prep. Griffin leads the Terps with 27 goals and 33 assists.

Skinny: The loss to No.3 IRC probably hurt Calvary Christian but not nearly as much as the prospect of now having to play Tampa Prep in the first round.

Bishop McLaughlin (13-5-0) at Indian Rocks Christian (6-15-2)

Player to watch: Jonny Sitton, midfielder, IRC. The athletic sophomore midfielder scored twice in IRC's upset of Calvary Christian.

Skinny: IRC pulled the shocker of the boys soccer season, knocking off top-seeded Calvary Christian in the district finals. Speedy forward Chris Redfield is Bishop McLaughlin's most dangerous weapon up top.

Admiral Farragut at St. Stephen's (15-4-2) at 3:30 p.m.

Player to watch: David Gans, midfielder, AFA. Leads Blue Jackets with 16 strikes this season.

Skinny: St. Stephen's didn't lose a district match all season. Ryley Delgado, who missed time with an ankle injury, is back to form and had two goals for the Falcons in the district final.

Evangelical Christian (13-10-2) at Shorecrest Prep

Player to watch: Vali Ungureanu, forward, Evangelical. The Romanian-born Ungureanu has a keen understanding of how to create space.

Skinny: Shorecrest took the district title for the second straight year, beating AFA for the second time this season. Evangelical Christian, which beat the Chargers 3-1 in November, will be without top defender Nick Dinwiddie, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

Brandon Wright, Times staff writer