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Preps

Boys Soccer State Semifinals

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 08:50 PM

Class 4A

OCALA FOREST (23-0-2) AT STEINBRENNER (17-2-3)

AT STAKE: A berth in the state championship game Feb. 16 against the Naples Gulf Coast-Fort Lauderdale winner.

OUTLOOK: In one of the oddest final fours in the state, three of the remaining teams are district runner-ups, including Steinbrenner. The Warriors have outscored opponents 16-2 in the region tournament, including a 3-1 region final win against Pine Ridge behind a hat trick from Jason Collister. Enrique Barboto and Austin Labban lead the midfield, while Blake Wilson has provided a number of opportunities for the attack. Center back Noah Keene leads the defense in front of keeper Christian Knight. Senior Derek Gebhard had five goals in the region tournament. The Warriors will need to keep up the offense against undefeated Ocala Forest, which already topped the defending 4A state champs, Fleming Island, in the region semifinals. The Wildcats have a strong defense and have toughed out three straight 1-0 wins. The defense, led by 6-foot-3 Jackie Kay and keeper Lex Craggs, has allowed four goals all season.

Class 2A

BERKELEY PREP (16-10-2) AT MIAMI GULLIVER PREP (18-2-3)

AT STAKE: A berth in the state championship game Feb. 15 against the Jacksonville Bolles-Orlando Lake Highland Prep winner.

OUTLOOK: Not even the Berkeley players will deny the Buccaneers' return to the Class 2A state semifinal this season was a long shot. After losing eight starters from last year's state finalist side and returning just two seniors, the Buccaneers' late-season surge is a tribute to the team finding its comfort zone at the right time. Junior Warren Backman notched the decider in the 2-0 win against LaBelle in the 60th minute. Tyler Sacone added another goal in a match the Buccaneers dominated but took some time to get on the scoreboard. Daniel Felman leads the team in scoring with 22 goals this season. Gulliver ended Delray Beach American Heritage's streak of nine straight final four appearances. The win was a little bit of vindication for Gulliver, which was topped 3-2 last season in the region final by the same Stallions. The Raiders got out to a two-goal lead and held on, topping American Heritage 3-2. Senior Bryan Ruiz-Unger notched a pair of goals in the win.

Class 1A

MAITLAND ORANGEWOOD CHRISTIAN (17-5-1)

AT TAMPA PREP (23-1-3)

AT STAKE: A berth in the state championship game Feb. 15 against the Melbourne Central Catholic-North Miami Beach Scheck Hillel Community winner.

OUTLOOK: The defending state champion Terrapins had to make some adjustments in the region final, as they were without defensive anchor Oscar Skjaerpe (broken foot). Tampa Prep was forced to move senior Macsen Pritchard to the back line and adjust throughout. Some of those adjustments showed up, as Tampa Prep took a little bit of time to get started, falling behind Windermere Prep before storming back in dominating fashion for a 5-1 win. Andrew Samuels got the scoring started before the Terrapins got the decider and some insurance from Michael Spezza and Shaddy Douidar, the team's top two scorers. The Terrapins have 16 players with at least one goal this season and have a big-time weapon on set-piece opportunities in Pritchard. Orangewood also cruised to a dominant region final win against Mayo Lafayette, 7-1. The Rams took a 2-1 lead to the half before pouring on five second-half goals. Senior forward Nick Bond had a pair of goals in the win. Sophomore Noah Johnson leads the team with 24 goals this season.

Tribune staff

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