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Boys soccer: 4 Hillsborough semifinalists a county first

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Thu. February 9, 2012 | Joey Knight | Email

Boys soccer: 4 Hillsborough semifinalists a county first

An unprecedented season in local boys soccer reaches a climactic stage this weekend. For the first time ever, four Hillsborough County schools are headed to the state semifinals. Unlike previous years, when all semifinals were held at one neutral site, this year's games will be played on the home pitch of a predetermined host school. Championship games, all to be played at USF's soccer stadium, are set for next weekend. Here's a closer look at the quartet of semifinal matchups (all matches are Friday at 7 p.m. unless noted):

Class A
Tampa Prep (17-6-2) at St. Augustine Saint Joseph (14-4-1)
Winner meets: Miami Westminster/Fort Myers Evangelical winner in Feb. 17 state final
How they advanced: Tampa Prep has scored three goals in each of its three playoff triumphs, including a 3-2 victory at Fort Meade in Tuesday's region final. ... Saint Joseph has outscored its three playoff foes by a combined total of 12-1
Who's hot for Tampa Prep: Senior captain Jordan Hayes has three goals in his last two contests, including a pair in a 3-1 region semifinal win against Indian Rocks Christian
Who's hot for St. Joseph: Name a kid. Four different players scored in the Flashes' 4-1 region finals win against Mayo Lafayette.
Throw-in fact: Saint Joseph never had won a playoff game prior to this season

Class 2A
Delray Beach American Heritage (22-3-2) at Berkeley Prep (19-7-2)
When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Winner meets: Melbourne West Shore/Jacksonville Bolles winner in Feb. 17 state final
How they advanced: Berkeley has allowed two goals in three playoff triumphs. ... American Heritage coasted in its first two postseason matches before edging Miami Gulliver Prep 3-2 in the region final
Who's hot for Berkeley Prep: Senior Kevin Harvey has a team-best 26 goals, and converted the throw-in that Justin Vogel headed into the net for Berkeley's initial goal in Wednesday's 2-0 region finals win at West Palm Beach King's Academy.
Who's hot for American Heritage: Sebastian Elney (nine goals) had a goal and assist in the region final
Throw-in fact: Think Vogel -- the football team's placekicker -- isn't a tad motivated for this one? American Heritage defeated Berkeley in the Class 3A state football semifinals last December.

Class 3A
Plantation American Heritage at Jesuit (20-3-1)
Winner meets: Fort Walton Beach choctawhatchee/Land O'Lakes winner in Feb. 18 state final
How they advanced: Jesuit has earned consecutive 2-1 extra-time victories, including a region final against Immokalee determined on penalty kicks. ... American Heritage rolled past Titusville, 3-0, in the region final
Who's hot for Jesuit: Senior Brett Durrance has four postseason goals, including two in a 2-1 overtime region semifinal win against Palmetto
Who's hot for American Heritage: Veteran Nicholas Kaupas got things rolling with a first-half goal in his team's shutout of Titusville
Throw-in fact: Jesuit is two victories from its seventh state championship, which would put it alone in second place (behind CCC) for most titles for a boys program

Class 4A
Gaither (20-4-1) at Orange Park Fleming Island (23-1)
Winner meets: Hialeah American/Seminole winner in Feb. 18 state final
How they advanced: Gaither needed only two postseason wins to get here; it clinched a forfeit victory in the region semifinals when Lakeland Jenkins had to vacate the bracket for using an ineligible player. ... American earned one-goal triumphs in its last two contests
Who's hot for Gaither: Senior Jonas Bukh has been virtually unstoppable (seven goals) in his last four contests
Who's hot for Fleming Island: Cameron McMurry has scored in each of the Golden Eagles' last two contests
Throw-in fact: Fleming Island has posted 16 shutouts this season

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