It has been 11 seasons since two county teams (Clearwater Central Catholic and Palm Harbor University in 1999) won girls soccer state titles in the same season. But with the amount of quality teams Tampa Bay boasts this season, the area seems poised to repeat that feat. The district tournaments mark the beginning of the "real" season. Win and keep playing; lose and go home. District champs and runnersup advance to region.
Saturday: St. Petersburg 1, Sarasota 0; North Port 3, Sarasota Riverview 0; Thursday: North Port (3) at Countryside (2), 7; St. Petersburg (4) at Palm Harbor University (1), 7; Friday: final (highest seed hosts), 7
Outlook: Countryside's only district losses came to Palm Harbor University, which went undefeated in district play. Expect the Cougars and Hurricanes to meet for the third time this season in a final featuring two of the county's most dynamic playmakers in Countryside's Thea Linkfield (32 goals) and PHU's Catherine Brinkman (34 goals).
5A-12 at Northeast
Saturday: Boca Ciega 5, Gibbs 1; Thursday: Largo (1) vs. Boca Ciega (4), 6:30; Pinellas Park (2) vs. Northeast (3), 8:30; Friday: final, 7
Outlook: Largo hasn't won a district title since 1995, but the Packers, who finished with a 3-0-2 district mark, are the favorites. Sweeper-turned-forward Katie Willis (five goals) leads a balanced Largo attack. Pinellas Park tied the Packers 2-2 in district play and pose the biggest threat, although Boca Ciega caught Largo off guard Wednesday and tied the Packers 2-2 as well.
5A-11 at Seminole
Saturday: Clearwater 1, Dunedin 0; Thursday: East Lake (2) vs. Tarpon Springs (3), 6; Seminole (1) vs. Clearwater (4), 8; Friday: final, 7
Outlook: The high-powered trio of Sierra Lelii (25 goals), Megan Lawrence (19) and Gina Hayduke (18) give Seminole plenty of scoring options. The Warhawks are a legitimate state contender and no longer have to get past PHU to make the final four as the schools are in different classifications now. Don't count out East Lake, though. The Eagles, behind Tatiana Perez (13 goals), can score in bunches.
Thursday: Braden River (5) at Osceola (4), 6; Dixie Hollins (6) at Lakewood (3), 6; Bayshore (7) at Palmetto (2), 6; Friday: Osceola-Braden River winner at Lakewood Ranch (1), 6; Lakewood-Dixie Hollins winner vs. Bayshore-Palmetto winner (highest seed hosts), 6; Saturday: final (highest seed hosts unless one of the teams is from Pinellas County, in which case the Pinellas County team hosts), 2
Outlook: Osceola shocked Seminole last season to win a district championship. The Warriors will have to play the spoiler role again if they wish to advance to region. Lakewood or Osceola could surprise as playoff teams, but it's not likely that a county team will emerge from this group.
3A-10 at St. Petersburg Catholic
Tuesday: Academy of the Holy Names (5) vs. Tampa Catholic (4), 7; Wednesday: AHN-Tampa Catholic winner vs. Berkeley Prep (1), 6; St. Petersburg Catholic (3) vs. Clearwater Central Catholic (2), 8; Friday: final, 7
Outlook: The best matchup won't come in Friday's final but two days earlier when the Marauders and Barons square off with a playoff berth on the line. The Barons will be looking for revenge after a 3-2 loss to CCC in both teams' district finale. Recent injury updates favor the Marauders: SPC's Kelsey Doughtery-Howard (18 goals, 15 assists) suffered a torn knee ligament in the CCC loss and is out for the season; CCC's Lindsey Cooper (county-leading 22 assists) is healthy again and should be back in the Marauders' lineup.
2A-10 at Shorecrest
Tuesday: Out-of-Door (4) vs. Northside Christian (5), 3; Cambridge (6) vs. Bradenton Christian (3), 5; Keswick Christian (7) vs. Shorecrest (2), 7; Thursday: Cambridge-Bradenton Christian winner vs. Keswick-Shorecrest winner, 5; Out-of-Door-Northside winner vs. St. Stephen's (1), 7; Friday: final, 7
Outlook: Shorecrest, used to being the top dog in its district, finds itself in the unfamiliar role as the tourney's No. 2 seed. The Chargers lost twice to St. Stephen's and tied Northside Christian during the regular season. The Mustangs boast one of the county's top goal scorers in Stephanie Bonalewicz (29 goals).
2A-9 at Tampa Prep
Tuesday: Carrollwood Day School (4) vs. Calvary Christian (5), 7; Thursday: Bishop McLaughlin (2) vs. Indian Rocks Christian (3), 5; Carrollwood Day-Calvary Christian winner vs. Tampa Prep (1); Friday: final, 7
Outlook: Tampa Prep isn't as strong as previous seasons, but the Terrapins remain the overwhelming pick to win their fifth straight title. Jensen Eifert (22 goals) scored twice for IRC against Bishop McLaughlin in the regular season, but it wasn't enough in a 3-2 loss. The Bay Conference champion Golden Eagles will need more offensive firepower if they hope to move past the Hurricanes and into the region round.