Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Boys district soccer tournaments put teams on the attack

The girls district tournaments got underway last week and now it's the boys turn. Can Tampa Prep repeat as state champ? Which teams will surprise us? Can fifth-seeded Wiregrass Ranch reach the finals of a deep 4A-8? The two teams that reach the district finals will qualify for next week's region quarterfinals. Here's a look at the brackets.

Class 5A-7 at Riverview

Tuesday: No. 4 Wharton vs. No. 5 Durant, 3 p.m.; No. 3 Plant vs. No. 6 Bloomingdale, 5 p.m.; No. 2 Riverview vs. No. 7 Alonso, 7 p.m.

Thursday: Plant-Bloomingdale winner vs. Riverview-Alonso winner, 5 p.m.; No. 1 Newsome vs. Wharton-Durant winner, 7 p.m.

Saturday: Final, 6

The skinny: Newsome, Riverview and Plant all have a legit shot at reaching the postseason. The Sharks have been on a roll of late, winning eight of their last nine and the Panthers have been equally as impressive down the stretch, including a big win against Strawberry Crest. Newsome scuffled a little down the stretch but the Wolves are talented and capable of a deep postseason run.

Player to watch: Newsome's Ajay Sequira is an exceptional striker but has been nursing a foot injury over the past few weeks. Coach Allen Ware said he hopes his senior forward, who has 25 goals this year, will be back this week.

4A-9 at Plant City

Tuesday: No. 2 Brandon vs. No. 7 Armwood, 3 p.m.; No. 4 East Bay vs. No. 5 Tampa Bay Tech, 5 p.m.; No. 3 Plant City vs. No. 6 Hillsborough, 7 p.m.

Wednesday: No. 1 Strawberry Crest vs. East Bay-TBT winner, 5 p.m.; Plant City-Hillsborough winner vs. Brandon-Armwood winner, 7 p.m.

Friday: Final, 7 p.m.

The skinny:

Player to watch: Strawberry Crest is the class of this district but the real competition will be which team gets the second playoff berth. Brandon, East Bay, Plant City and TBT were all bunched together in the regular-season district race and even Hillsborough played the Chargers to a draw this year.

4A-8 at Gaither

Wednesday: No. 4 Freedom vs. No. 5 Wiregrass Ranch, 6 p.m.; No. 3 Gaither vs. No. 6 Chamberlain, 8 p.m.

Friday: No. 1 Sickles vs. Freedom-Wiregrass winner, 6 p.m.; No. 2 Steinbrenner vs. Gaither-Chamberlain winner, 8 p.m.

Saturday: Final, 7 p.m.

The skinny: This shapes up as the toughest district in the area and one of the stingier in the state. A coin flip decided the No. 1 seed and all the teams in the district — save a weak Chamberlain team — could capture one of the final slots that would send them to the playoffs.

Player to watch: Thiago Silveira is Sickles' backbone. The Gryphons' captain is the connector through the midfield and is dangerous on set pieces.

Class 3A-9 at Lennard

Tuesday: No. 1 Jesuit vs. No. 8 Middleton, 6 p.m.; No. 2 King vs. No. 7 Jefferson, 8 p.m.

Wednesday: No. 4 Leto vs. No. 5 Spoto, 6 p.m.; No. 3 Lennard vs. No. 6 Robinson, 8 p.m.

Thursday: Jesuit-Middleton winner vs. Leto-Spoto winner, 6 p.m.; King-Jefferson winner vs. Lennard-Robinson winner, 8 p.m.

Friday: Final, 7 p.m.

The skinny: Jesuit has long been the team to beat in this district but an interesting battle looks to be shaping up in the semifinals. Lennard and King both had solid seasons. The Longhorns and King both played the Tigers to a draw this season.

Player to watch: Forward Eric Mubang leads the Tigers in goals with 13 and is second on the club with seven assists.

2A-9 at Tampa Catholic

Wednesday: No. 1 Berkeley Prep vs. No. 4 Clearwater Central Catholic, 5 p.m.; No. 2 Tampa Catholic vs. St. Petersburg Catholic, 7 p.m.

Friday: Final, 7 p.m.

The skinny: The good news for these four teams is that it only takes one win in the semifinals to secure a postseason slot. The Bucs and Crusaders played to a 3-3 draw this season and should have a shot at undoing that tie in the district finals.

Player to watch: Daniel Felman is the key to Berkeley Prep's attack. The junior has reached double digits in goals (17) and assists (10).

1A-7 with semifinals and finals at Tampa Prep

Tuesday: No. 8 Academy of the Lakes at No. 1 Tampa Prep, time to be determined; No. 5 Cambridge Christian at No. 4 Carrollwood Day School, TBD; No. 7 Seffner Christian at No. 2 Calvary Christian, TBD; No. 6 Bishop McLaughlin at No. 3 Indian Rocks Christian, TBD

Wednesday: Seffner Christian-Calvary Christian winner vs. Bishop McLaughlin-IRC winner, 5 p.m.; Tampa Prep-Academy of the Lakes winner vs. Cambridge Christian-IRC winner, 7 p.m.

Friday: Final, 7 p.m.

The skinny: Tampa Prep beat the second and third seeded teams by a combined 13-1 during the regular season so barring a miracle, the Terps will advance to the playoffs. IRC lost to Calvary Christian 1-0 early in the season and those two teams figure to battle it out for the other slot, but don't count out a game CDS side.

Player to watch: Tampa Prep striker Shaddy Douidar is a fleet-footed forward who has 24 goals for the defending state champs.


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