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Pinellas: Girls district soccer breakdown

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Thu. January 9, 2014 | Bob Putnam | Email

Pinellas: Girls district soccer breakdown

It has been three seasons since a Pinellas County girls soccer team won a state title. There is no shortage of contenders this season with as many as four teams that could make significant runs (East Lake, Palm Harbor University, Seminole and Shorecrest). Of course, the district tournaments could be stumbling blocks or allow an unexpected team to emerge. Here is the breakdown of the tournaments, some of which start today:

5A-8 at various sites
Wednesday: No. 4 Pinellas Park at No. 1 Manatee, 7; No. 3 Sarasota Riverview at No. 2 St. Petersburg, 7
Jan. 17: Final at TBD, 7 (higher seed hosts)
Outlook: In their past eight games, the Green Devils have gone 4-1-1 to earn a berth in the conference championship game. A big reason for the turnaround has been the play Chloe Beaver and Shaura Washington. In district play, St. Petersburg’ was 3-2-1 with one of the losses coming against top-seeded Manatee.

5A-7 at Palm Harbor University
Saturday: No. 4 Plant vs. No. 5 Countryside, 1; No. 3 PHU vs. No. 6 Alonso, 3:30
Jan. 16: No. 1 Steinbrenner vs. Plant-Countryside winner, 5; PHU-Alonso winner vs. No. 2 East Lake, 7:30
Jan. 17: Final, 7
Outlook: This is perhaps the toughest district of any classification with Steinbrenner and PHU each having won state titles in the past five years, and East Lake advancing to the state semifinals last year. A potential district semifinal looms between the Hurricanes and Eagles, who met in the district final and region semifinals last year. PHU is undefeated but has five ties, which dropped them to the No. 3 seed. Defense has been the Hurricanes’ strong suit with five goals allowed this season. And PHU is starting to get healthy with the return of Kathryn Huapaya (broken foot) and Shalisa Crowell (sprained ankle) returning from injuries. Though the Eagles went 2-2-1 down the stretch, they are finally at full strength after dealing with injuries, illnesses and club commitments through most of the season. In the regular-season finale, East Lake beat Countryside 4-1 in one of its best performances.

4A-10 at various sites
Friday: No. 5 Palmetto at No. 4 Clearwater, 7; No. 6 Dixie Hollins at No. 3 Northeast, 7
Jan. 16: Clearwater-Palmetto winner at No. 1 Seminole, 7; Northeast-Dixie Hollins winner at No. 2 Osceola, 7
Jan. 17: Final, 7 (higher seed hosts)
Outlook: The top-seeded Warhawks are the county’s most complete team. They are averaging more than four goals per game and have allowed just seven goals all season. Better still, most of the top players are underclassmen with freshman Gabrielle John leading the team with 19 goals and sophomore Olivia Red ranking second with nine. The Warriors, the No. 2 seed, advanced to the state semifinals the past two seasons but have moved up in classification. Cassidy Reich is Osceola’s leading scorer with 13 goals and eight assists.

3A-10 at Largo
Friday: No. 5 Lakewood vs. No. 4 Boca Ciega, 6; No. 6 Gibbs vs. No. 3 Dunedin, 8
Jan. 16: Lakewood-Bogie winner vs. No. 1 Largo, 6; Gibbs-Dunedin winner vs. No. 2 Tarpon Springs, 8
Jan. 17: Final, 7
Outlook: The top-seeded Packers, who benefited from the move from Class 4A to 3A, are in prime position to make the playoffs for just the second time in the past 13 seasons. Largo went 5-0 in the district and has gone 5-0-2 in the past seven games, outscoring opponents a combined 31-4. Ashley Blanchard has been a force on the defensive end, and Morgan Power has come on in the past few games offensively.

2A-9 at Holy Names
Monday: No. 5 Berkeley Prep vs. No. 4 St. Petersburg Catholic, 5; No. 6 Tampa Catholic vs. No. 3 Clearwater Central Catholic, 7
Wednesday: No. 2 Tampa Prep vs. TC-CCC winner, 5; No. 1 AHN vs. Berkeley-SPC winner, 7
Jan. 17: Final, 7
Outlook: After meeting in the district final and region semifinals last year, longtime rivals Clearwater Central Catholic and St. Petersburg Catholic have struggled to even come close to matching that success as both are in rebuilding mode. The Marauders have played district opponents tough, with a 2-0 loss to top-seeded Holy Names and a 1-0 loss to No. 2 seed Tampa Prep. The Barons have improved in the second half of the season and beat AHN 3-0 before the winter break.

A-6 at Canterbury
Tuesday: No. 4 Canterbury vs. No. 5 Keswick Christian, 5; No. 3 Indian Rocks Christian vs. No. 6 Northside Christian, 7
Jan. 16: No. 2 Calvary Christian vs. IRC-Northside winner, 5; No. 1 Shorecrest vs. Canterbury-Keswick winner, 7
Jan. 17: Final, 7
Outlook: The Chargers, who advanced to the region final a year ago, went 5-0 in the district. The closest games Shorecrest had were against Indian Rocks Christian, and the Chargers won both by a combined 12-5. Skyler Ellenburg is the Chargers’ top player.

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