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Spartans keep chugging along

By RODNEY PAGE

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 14, 2001


Only a few teams have the luxury of reloading every season.

Because of their location in the soccer hot bed of greater Clearwater, it's almost a given that Countryside, East Lake, Clearwater Central Catholic and Palm Harbor University are going to be competitive every year.

Then there's Lakewood, a south county school that has stayed highly competitive for more than a decade. This season is no different.

After an "off" year at 16-6-3, the Spartans are 13-3-1 this season and comfortably on top of Class 2A, District 11. And they are not winning with veterans. Senior forward Lauri Tondreault is the leader, but she is surrounded by a talented young cast. Sophomore forward Jenny Borschel leads the team with 22 goals in 16 games. Sophomore forward Erica Williams has eight goals, and sophomore midfielder Devon Wilt has six.

Junior midfielder Morgan Roy, junior defender Stasi Searfoss, sophomore defender Shanna DiNobile and junior forward Tameka Dickens also have contributed.

"We've got the depth, and I think that's made a big difference," Lakewood coach Darlene Lebo said. "We had some depth last year, but this year, it's more mature. I can pull kids off the bench and not really lose anything."

Lakewood is off this week before playing Osceola in the opening round of the Pinellas County Athletic Conference tournament. The Spartans likely will meet Osceola in the district tournament and, perhaps, in the regionals. They already have played four times this season, with Lakewood winning three.

LOSING STRENGTH: PHU had a rough week after the holidays, losing to Seminole and district foe Bloomingdale. But don't downgrade the Hurricanes to a tropical storm just yet. PHU, which lost to Bloomingdale 2-1 on Tuesday, host the Bulls on Thursday in a district rematch.

PCAC TOURNAMENT: The brackets have been released for the PCAC tournament, which is Jan. 22-26. Eight teams in the North division and eight teams from the South division will play a single-elimination tournament, with the South champion playing at the North champion Jan. 26.

In the North, East Lake opens at Clearwater, PHU is at Largo, Dunedin is at Seminole and Tarpon Springs is at Countryside.

In the South, Pinellas Park is at Dixie Hollins, Lakewood is at Osceola, Boca Ciega is at Gibbs and Northeast is at St. Petersburg. The winners play Jan. 23. Jan. 24 is an off day, and Jan. 25 is the divisional final.

PHU defeated Osceola in last year's championship, the first time a tournament was used to determine the PCAC champion.

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