Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Girls soccer: Pinellas Super 7, players to watch

Times' Super 7

1. Palm Harbor University (6-0-2): With a veteran team that is particularly strong defensively, the Hurricanes remain one of two undefeated teams in the county. PHU has allowed just one goal all season and the ties have come against Largo and Seminole. The offense should improve with the return of several players from injury within the next month, including forward Katie Im, who recently committed to Davidson. The Hurricanes will need all the reinforcements they can get in a brutal district that includes state powers East Lake, George Steinbrenner and Plant.

2. Seminole (6-1-1): Though the Warhawks graduated key starters from last year's team that made the region finals, they have a solid nucleus led by Brandy Maulucci and Olivia Red. Seminole has allowed just two goals this season, one of which came in a loss to East Lake. Last week was perhaps its most impressive with a 1-0 win over East Lake in a rematch and a 5-0 victory over district foe Palmetto.

3. East Lake (4-2-0): Despite losing 11 seniors from last year's state semifinal team, the Eagles have played well with both losses coming by a combined 3-0 to PHU and Seminole. East Lake should get a boost with the return of Emily Cady and Elisha Holmes from injuries in the next few weeks.

4. Osceola (4-0-0): The Warriors have been dominant, scoring eight or more goals in three of their first four games. But Osceola has feasted on a weak early-season schedule and has yet to be tested. The first challenge will come Friday against Seminole in a game for first place in the district.

5. Shorecrest (5-2-0): This is a veteran team that has 10 returning seniors, including nine starters. Skyler Ellenburg is the leader, but the Chargers also have been getting contributions from Demi Tellios, Natalie Zolper and Sarah Zolper.

6. Largo (5-3-1): The highlight of the Packers' strong start was a scoreless tie against the county's top team, Palm Harbor University. The schedule gets tougher with games against Clearwater Central Catholic, East Lake and Osceola in the next two weeks.

7. Clearwater (3-1-0): The surprise team of the season is off to one of its best starts in years, with impressive victories over Countryside and Largo the past two weeks.

Knocking on the door: St. Petersburg (3-2-1)

Players to watch

Caroline Booth

Clearwater Central Catholic, M: On a young team, Booth is among a trio of veterans that is in transition as it moves up in classification.

Ashley Blanchard

Largo, D: Solid play has helped the Packers stay with some of the top teams in the county.

Brooke Coughlin

St. Petersburg Catholic, F: The junior will be counted on for leadership after the graduation of Meggie Dougherty-Howard, who is now at Florida.

Skyler Ellenburg

Shorecrest, M: The Chargers' best all-around player has led team to five wins.

Brandy Maulucci

Seminole, F: The Assumption recruit recently came back from a knee injury and scored the winning goal against East Lake last week.

Quinn Lombard

Palm Harbor University, D (below): She teams with Sarah Raymond to give a Hurricanes a solid tandem as the last line of defense.

Cassidy Reich

Osceola, F (above): Continues to be the Warriors' top offensive player, much like last year when she led team to state semifinals.

Kaylan Markese

St. Petersburg, GK: The volleyball standout also is one of the top keepers in the county and is drawing interest from Florida and Florida State.

Gabby Rademaker

East Lake, M: The former defender has become more of a scorer for the Eagles.

Sarah Raymond

PHU, D: The University of Tampa recruit recently returned from cross country to strengthen the county's top defense.

Olivia Red

Seminole, F: As a freshman last season, she tied for the county lead with 32 goals.

Olivia Ross-Johnson

Indian Rocks Christian, F: Emerged as the Golden Eagles' best scoring threat last season with more than 20 goals as a freshman.

Bob Putnam, Times staff writer


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