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Boys soccer: Region quarterfinal preview

Six contenders remain in the race for the county's first state championship since 2006. All region quarterfinal games begin at 7 tonight, unless otherwise noted.

Class 5A

Leto (13-9-1) at Palm Harbor University (19-4-4): This game features teams headed in opposite directions. PHU is one of the area's hottest after knocking off previously undefeated East Lake in the district final. Leto, which hasn't won a playoff game since 1999, has lost five of its past eight. In 2006, these two met in the region quarterfinals, which PHU won 4-1. The Hurricanes are 6-for-7 in this round of the playoffs.

Game-changer: Matthew Tobin. A natural playmaker, Tobin leads the Hurricanes in goals and assists.

East Lake (19-1-4) at Jesuit (23-1-1): If you don't follow a team and just want to watch a highly competitive matchup, this is your game. Both teams have the talent to win a state title. It'll be interesting to note how East Lake rebounds from its first loss of the season after falling to rival PHU in the district final.

Game-changer: Josh Gonzalez. Teammate Nick Patterson may have more goals, but Gonzalez's attacking speed is lethal.

Punta Gorda Charlotte (9-8-4) at Seminole (15-8-3): Seminole continued its dominance over 5A-11 foes by winning its fourth straight district title and qualifying for its ninth straight regional tournament. The Warhawks outscored Gibbs, Dixie Hollins and Osceola 12-0 to win the title. Charlotte, meanwhile, has never played in a regional. The Tarpons ousted top-seeded North Port 1-0 in the district semis to advance.

Game-changer: Shane Wixted. After starting slowly, Wixted has elevated his game. The junior scored four goals in the district tournament.

Osceola (7-8-1) at Lakewood Ranch (15-3-4): Meet the county's Arizona Cardinals, a dangerous upstart nobody expected to remain this deep in the playoffs. As the district's four seed, Osceola shocked No. 1 seed Lakewood 3-2 in overtime to earn a playoff spot for the first time since 2006. The Warriors' last playoff win? In 2004 on their way to a state semifinal berth.

Game-changer: Peter Fraser. His hat trick against Lakewood in the district semifinals sent Osceola to the district final.

Class 2A

Out-of-Door Academy (9-6-2) at Shorecrest (17-3-3): Out-of-Door reached regionals for the first time in school history. Its reward? A date with Shore­crest, making its sixth straight regional appearance. The Chargers haven't lost in this round since 2006.

Game-changer: Stephen Spanos. The county scoring leader had seven goals in two district tournament matches.

Northside Christian (6-8-2) at St. Stephen's (15-4-1), 3:30: For the second straight season, Northside travels to St. Stephen's for a region quarterfinal game. Last year, St. Stephen's shut out Northside 8-0. In the district tournament, the Mustangs upset second-seeded Admiral Farragut to qualify for regionals. Northside is making its fourth postseason appearance. The Mustangs have just one playoff win.

Game-changer: Seth Rogers. Well-struck free kick from 25 yards put Northside ahead 2-0 against Admiral Farragut.

Boys soccer: Region quarterfinal preview 02/04/09 [Last modified: Thursday, February 5, 2009 12:12am]
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