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Sunday, Aug 31, 2014

Prep soccer preview


New districts

4A-8: Chamberlain, Freedom, Gaither, Leto, Mitchell, Sickles, Wiregrass Ranch; 3A-7: Citrus, Crystal River, Fivay, Hernando, Hudson, Nature Coast, Springstead, Weeki Wachee; 3A-8: Anclote, Gulf, Land O’ Lakes, Pasco, Ridgewood, River Ridge, Sunlake, Wesley Chapel, Zephyrhills; 1A-5: Academy at the Lakes, Bishop McLaughlin, Brooks-DeBartolo, Cambridge, Carrollwood Day, Seffner Christian, Tampa Bay HEAT, Universal Academy.

Boys teams to Watch

1. Sunlake: The Seahawks lost a player that scored 60 goals, but coach Sam Koleduk and company have high aspirations to have even better season than a year ago when Sunlake was a 3A state semifinalist. The team returns the county’s second-leading scorer, arguably the county’s top keeper, the core of last year’s team and even brings a sophomore transfer, Remi Pimm, who plays on the USA U-17 National Team.

2. Land O’ Lakes: The Gators may have missed the playoffs last season, but coach Mark Pearson and company are determined to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Returning one of the county’s top scorers to lead a big core group, the Gators want to keep pace in 3A-8.

3. Mitchell: The Mustangs move up to 4A, but should be a viable contender in their district that includes Hillsborough County teams. Coach Oscar Ubillus was disappointed not to grab a district title last season, but a good senior class led the team’s top scorer has the team with high expectations.

4. Wiregrass Ranch: The Bulls just missed the playoffs last season and coach Dave Wilson will field a young team around its two top returning goal scorers.

5. River Ridge: The Royal Knights are eyeing a return to the playoffs behind experience and a large senior class.

Boys players to watch

Connor Spencer, Jr., Sunlake: The Seahawks forward led the county with 35 assists and was second with 40 goals.

Chris Wilikinson, Jr., Sunlake: Had 13 goals and 27 assists as one of the county’s best midfielders.

Danny Hrenko, So., Sunlake: Ridiculous numbers as a freshman keeper: including a .03 GAA and 21 shutouts, which was most in the nation.

Austin Goble, Sr., Sunlake: At sweeper, led an impressive defense with 12 goals and 17 assists last season.

Glenn Johnson, So., Land O’ Lakes: Should be the Gators leading goal scorer, thanks to his speed and playing experience.

Nathaniel Hayes, Sr., Mitchell: The forward scored 14 goals and 12 assists to lead the team last season.

T.J. Spana, Jr., Wiregrass Ranch: Had an impressive 2012-13 season by leading the Bulls with 33 goals.

Bryce Wilson, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch: Scored 18 goals to go along with 33 assists last season.

Nick Schroder, Sr., River Ridge: Team’s top returner should lead the team, just as he did to a 3A-8 district title.

Daniel Navarro, Sr., Pasco: Looks to led coach Barry Grayling’s squad back into the playoffs after a 3A-7 district runner-up finish last season.

Alex Stafford, Sr., Bishop McLaughlin: Scored 13 goals and looks to lead the Hurricanes to a playoff berth through 1A-5.

Tyler Brown, Sr., Gulf: Led the 13-7-1 Buccaneers with 27 goals and 15 assists last season.

Cody Wills, Sr., Hudson: Looks to lead a young Cobras team that should be 3A-7 title contender.

Curtis Chapman, Sr., Fivay: Looks to lead a talented Falcons squad that is one of the top teams in 3A-7.

Girls teams to watch

1. Mitchell: Already off to a 5-0 start, the Mustangs are looking to pick up where their season, perhaps, prematurely, ended last year. Falling in the team’s first state semifinal, coach Karl Kukec and company returns its two top goal scorers, its top defender and keeper with high expectations to go beyond. Kukec was already talking about a talented incoming freshmen class, some of which he figured would make an impact. One already has, as forward Sabrina Wagner leads the team with nine goals in five games.

2. Land O’ Lakes: The Gators return a solid core from last year’s district championship team and longtime coach Vicky King looks to mix in her new, talented additions to help the program she started defend its title. Land O’ Lakes also brings back junior keeper Lauren Arrabito, who allowed seven goals while splitting time between the posts last season.

3. Wiregrass Ranch: The Bulls may be the second-best team in 4A-8, standing only behind Mitchell, but coach Ed Costa brings in solid returners to go along with new additions that are already standing out. That includes freshman Sareya Maxson, who has (six) goals through four games.

4. Sunlake: The Seahawks are hoping to build off their best season in program history, which saw them as district runner-up to Land O’ Lakes. Coach Jami Finan brings back her top goal scorers and midfielders to mix in with freshmen that give Sunlake a lot of depth.

5. River Ridge: For the first time in nearly a decade, the Royal Knights are guided by a new coach. Mark Harmon is now at the helm of a team that returns in leading scorer and already off to a solid start in a deep district. River Ridge should contend for a playoff spot, but will have to get past the two teams from Land O’ Lakes, especially after already losing to Sunlake 5-0 this season.

Girls players to watch

Amanda Hayes, Jr., Mitchell: A county-high 33 goals for the Mustangs that lost one game (state semifinal) last season.

Taylor Meek, Sr., Mitchell: Complemented Hayes well by adding 30 goals for the Mustangs.

Danielle Gottwick, Sr., Mitchell: The UConn commit scored more goals (nine) than the defense she led allowed (eight).

Erica Disbrow, Sr., Mitchell: Had 81 saves and 21 shutouts standing behind the county’s best defense.

Brooke Silvest, Sr., Land O’ Lakes: With a team-high 12 goals, led the Gators to a 3A-7 district title.

Victoria Cannata, So., Land O’ Lakes: A nice addition for the Gators, having scored eight goals through six games.

Vanessa Jordan, So., Wiregrass Ranch: Scored 14 goals as a freshman, so should become one of the Bulls top players with the departure of a talented senior class.

Emily Higgins, Sr., Sunlake: Led the Seahawks with nine goals and a district runner-up finish.

Cassidy Place, Sr., Sunlake: Put away eight goals and a team-high seven assists last season.

Darien Davis, Jr., River Ridge: Led the Royal Knights with 25 goals before being upset in the district tournament.

Dominique Cirnigliaro, Sr., Hudson: This West Florida commit, and leading scorer since her freshman year, looks to help the Cobras stay in contention in 3A-7 with teams from Hernando and nearby-rival Fivay.

Aubry Hall, So., Fivay: Scored 11 goals as a freshman for the 10-10 Falcons last season.

Brianna Rossi, Sr., Gulf: A four-year starter, led the Buccaneers with 22 goals, though the team was 5-14 last season.

Ashton Brock, Jr., Pasco: Led the 5-13 Pirates with 11 goals last season.

Rickelle Vetzel, Sr., Bishop McLaughlin: Should be the Hurricanes leading scorer after having six last season.

Mike Camunas

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