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Citrus teams to meet in 2A-7 championship

The Hurricanes and Panthers advance with shutout wins.

By KEITH NIEBUHR

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 2, 2001


INVERNESS -- That Citrus and Lecanto emerged with semifinal wins at the Class 2A, District 7 tournament was not a surprise.

The closeness of their games was.

Top-seeded Citrus defeated fourth-seeded Dunnellon 3-0 while Lecanto, the second seed, beat No. 3 Crystal River 2-0. Both winning teams shook off slow starts to advance to tonight's final.

"This was, by far, the worst game of the year for us," said Citrus coach Brady Bogart, who added he was upset with "everything" the Hurricanes (19-1-3) did.

Citrus outshot Dunnellon (14-7-2) 34-0 but squandered more close-range scoring opportunities than Bogart cared to recount. Citrus went ahead 1-0 on a Jessica Macdonald goal 6:50 into the game but went ice cold for the next 46 minutes.

Finally, with 26:49 left in the game, it scored on a 30-yard direct kick by Tabitha Schrufer to make it 2-0. Citrus added an Amy Bowen goal later in the half.

"I'm not worried (about tonight's game)," Bogart said. "I think a different team will show up. If not, we might lose our last two games of the year. We've got to finish shots. If you're 6 yards away, a volley shouldn't go 20 yards over the net."

Lecanto (16-3-2) found the going equally tough against an improved Crystal River (8-10-2) team.

The Panthers outshot Crystal River 24-17, but most of their shots came in the final 40 minutes. Crystal River controlled the tempo early, and the teams played to a scoreless first half. "We won the first half," Crystal River coach Eli Jackson said. "We came out with a lot of emotion."

The second half belonged to Lecanto.

With 30 minutes left in the game, the Panthers got a break when Crystal River was called for a handball inside the box. On the ensuing penalty kick, Heather Vantine's shot slid past Lauren Cummins. Six minutes later, Amber Gidden made it 2-0 after dribbling all the way from midfield.

"We really stepped it up in the second half," Lecanto coach Kevin Towne said. "We put a lot of pressure on the net. Once we did that, good things started to happen."

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