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Wesley Chapel Warriors' streak over at 9

Wesley Chapel Warrior teammates Sean Caukat, left, and Ross Braddock listen to instructions from an assistant coach before their game on Saturday. The team is composed of high school students from Pasco and Hillsborough counties.

MIKE CAMUNAS I Times

Wesley Chapel Warrior teammates Sean Caukat, left, and Ross Braddock listen to instructions from an assistant coach before their game on Saturday. The team is composed of high school students from Pasco and Hillsborough counties.

WESLEY CHAPEL

For the Wesley Chapel Warriors, a varsity club lacrosse team composed of high school students from Pasco and Hillsborough counties, a little luck can be credited for the team's 9-1 record.

The team won its first nine games, but rain delays postponed two games against some of Wesley Chapel's toughest competition, making the final five contests the toughest stretch of the season.

"Maybe the lacrosse gods were looking down on us those days. We had some injuries then, so we could be looking at the standings and see two losses," coach Tom FitzSimons said. "We're pretty much healthy now, so we're preparing for the tough games to finish the year."

In the first of those tough games, the Warriors lost to Christian Brothers, 7-6 in overtime, on Wednesday.

Throughout the season, six starters have missed time with such injuries as a broken arm, a concussion suffered after scoring a goal and a sprained knee.

With nearly a full squad in its last win, the Warriors wasted no time putting away Cypress Lake, a team from Lee County.

After the Warriors won the opening faceoff, senior midfielder Ray Rouch raced down the sideline, faked left and shot right, finding the back of the net as only eight seconds came off the clock.

From there, the Warriors kept scoring with relative ease during the 20-2 victory. Prior to Saturday's game, their season high in goals was 15.

The West Florida Lacrosse League comprises 10 teams from across the state, extending from the north (Ocala), south (Sarasota), east (Lakeland) and west (St. Petersburg).

Although the team has already matched its win total from last year, the Warriors didn't discuss their streak too much.

"A couple of teams have been saying it doesn't really matter because of who we've played," midfielder Josh Lane said.

Wesley Chapel's final four games will be played in eight days. Before facing Jesuit (8-1), the Warriors will have to face Plant, a team they lost to twice last season.

Although the Panthers are 5-3 this season, they are the only team to beat Jesuit and their three losses have come by a combined five goals.

"It's definitely going to be hard playing four games in eight days, especially when you're playing two of the best teams in the league," goalkeeper Daniel Dlugozima said. "But we have our confidence up right now, and I think we can really do it."

The top eight teams in the division will qualify for the playoffs with the championship April 19 at the USF Soccer Stadium. Following the division championship, the winner will face the representative from the South Florida Lacrosse League for the state title.

"All these games will be a good barometer of how far we've actually progressed before heading into the playoffs," FitzSimons said. "Who knows? Maybe some of the luck we had off the field will continue on it."

Got a good idea for a story? How about a local athlete that's excelling? Then e-mail ideas, feedback to bgalella@gmail.com.

>>FAST FACTS

Wesley Chapel Warriors

Where: Wesley Chapel District Park.

Founded: 2001.

Schools represented: Wesley Chapel, Land O'Lakes, Wiregrass, King.

Remaining schedule: Tonight, vs. Fishhawk; Sunday, at Plant; Tuesday, at Jesuit; Friday, vs. Freedom.

For more information on the team, log on to www.wclacrosse.com or contact coach Tom FitzSimons at (813) 432-5953.

Wesley Chapel Warriors' streak over at 9 03/27/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 10:49am]
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