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Boys soccer: Region quarterfinals preview

By IZZY GOULD, Times Staff Writer
Published January 31, 2008


LAND O'LAKES - Here's the quick-hit version of what to expect in tonight's boys soccer region quarterfinals. A win for every Pasco County team would set up rematches of the district tournament finals. And don't forget if you go to bring $6 for admission and probably a few more bucks for parking.

Class 5A, Region 2

Freedom (17-4) at Land O'Lakes (25-1-1)

River Ridge (8-10-3) at Wharton (13-5-2)

Skinny: Ranked fifth nationally, the Gators make their fifth consecutive postseason appearance, hoping to advance to the second round for the first time since 2005. They have matched a school-record 15-game win streak, with the last loss coming Dec. 7 (3-2 to Tampa Catholic). They were knocked out on their home field last year (5-1 region quarterfinal loss to Wharton) and survived an overtime scare - 2-1 win over River Ridge - in the 5A-7 district tournament final. The Royal Knights are making their first appearance in the state tournament since 2000. They hope to lean on the experience of having faced the Gators three times and their experience in the Soccer Field Invitational.

Class 4A, Region 2

Orlando Bishop Moore (16-5-4) at Hudson (16-5-2)

Pasco (20-5-2) at Harmony (13-7-2)

Skinny: The Cobras' 5-2 upset of Pasco for the Class 4A, District 8 title still lingered Wednesday afternoon. Pirates coach Barry Grayling said Pasco rebounded with a good week of practice, and he shrugged off any thoughts of escaping a trip to Orlando Bishop Moore. The Hornets' district final loss sends them to Hudson, where Hudson coach Paul Vescio expects a big home-crowd advantage. Cobras forward Scotty Combs has scored 39 goals this season, including three against the Pirates in the district final.

Class 2A, Region 3

Calvary Christian (15-5-2) at Bishop McLaughlin (7-6-6)

Academy at the Lakes (3-12-1) at Tampa Prep (22-2-2)

Skinny: Academy at the Lakes might have the toughest fight of the bunch, taking on Tampa Prep - ranked No. 8 in the NSCAA/Adidas region I rankings - which has outscored opponents 84-17. And Bishop McLaughlin makes its return to the state tournament after claiming its first district title.

Izzy Gould can be reached at izzygould@gmail.com or (727) 580-5315.