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Girls soccer preview

Class 6A, District 7

Teams: Alonso, Countryside, Gaither, Mitchell, St. Petersburg, Sickles

Outlook Last season
St. Petersburg will be without talented playmaker Nastassja Saitta because of a torn knee ligament. But the up-and-coming Green Devils have a lot of young talent ready to emerge. Countryside returns its entire midfield but has questions on defense. Defending champ: Mitchell

Runnerup: Countryside

Class 5A, District 9

Teams: Clearwater, Dunedin, East Lake, Largo, Palm Harbor U., Pinellas Park, Tarpon Springs

Outlook Last season
Tarpon and Clearwater field solid squads. But both will be hard-pressed to beat out East Lake and PHU for a playoff spot. The Eagles could be even better than last season's state semifinal team, and the Hurricanes continue to reload. Dunedin will be without Katie Blades, an LSU recruit who has decided not to play high school soccer this season. Defending champ: PHU

Runnerup: East Lake

Class 5A, District 11

Teams: Boca Ciega, Dixie Hollins, Gibbs, Lakewood, Northeast, Osceola, Seminole

Outlook Last season
Seminole replaces five starters but is again the team to beat. Katelin Foley, Noel Forsman, Tess Hipp and Megan Lawrence give the Warhawks a formidable midfield, and Casey Merson is one of the county's top goalies. Osceola, with top goal-scorer Mary Ann Krlin, must find replacements on defense but will contend. Lakewood was hit hard by graduation but has a five-year streak of reaching regions. Northeast fields its most talented squad in years. Defending champ: Seminole

Runnerup: Lakewood

Class 3A, District 9

Teams: Academy of the Holy Names, Berkeley Prep, Clearwater Central Catholic, Lennard, St. Petersburg Catholic, Tampa Catholic

Outlook Last season
CCC advanced to the state semifinals last season, however Berkeley is the favorite. The Marauders are strong in the midfield with Summer Ewing and the rapidly improving Lindsey Cooper. SPC had qualified for regions for seven consecutive season until it failed to hold a late 2-0 lead against Berkeley in the district semis last season. Berkeley, CCC and SPC will fight for the two playoff spots. Defending champ: CCC

Runnerup: Berkeley Prep

Class 2A, District 9

Teams: Bishop McLaughlin, Calvary Christian, Cambridge, Tampa Prep

Outlook Last season
Defending 2A champ Tampa Prep is loaded again and a good bet to reach the state semifinals. Calvary became playoff eligible in 2006 and likely will have to fight Cambridge to make its first region appearance. Defending champ: Tampa Prep

Runnerup: Cambridge

Class 2A, District 10

Teams: Indian Rocks Christian, Keswick Christian, Northside Christian, Shorecrest

Outlook Last season
Shorecrest, which returns the reigning county scoring leader in sophomore Jenn Casey, is younger than in seasons past but is still the team to beat. The Chargers have won the past three district titles, but the talent level among the four teams has leveled somewhat. Defending champ: Shorecrest Runnerup: Indian Rocks Christian


EAST LAKE — The man on the sideline holding a clipboard has been replaced. The rest of the lineup remains largely as it was a year ago, when East Lake recorded its finest season in school history with a march to the Class 5A state semifinals.

The architect of that playoff run, Raleigh Daves, resigned, opting to try his hand coaching football, the American version.

In steps Eagles junior varsity coach John Orr, who has more than 25 years of experience coaching competitive soccer starting at age 18 in Canada.

Orr inherits a skilled contingent of players. Three have committed to major Division I programs. More will surely follow in the coming years.

"It's just fine-tuning things really," Orr said, "because they know what they're doing and they feel comfortable with what they're doing."

Replacing goalie Ali Burnham, who had three shutouts in the state tournament, will be challenging, but otherwise, nine starters return.

"We have great leadership from the seniors," defender Tara Petzoldt said. "A number of us have been playing together for a lot of years."

A second state semifinal appearance is attainable. East Lake, though, aspires for more.

"We got so close last year," said midfielder Alicia Nalley, who led the Eagles in goals (27) and assists (11).

"We have the talent to win it all. Hopefully, we can put it together on the field when it counts." The starting 11

Goalkeeper

Jessica Amlaw, Sr., Tarpon Springs: Gives Spongers a chance against anyone.

Defenders

Ellycia Colon, Sr., PHU: Tenacious USF recruit.

Tara Petzoldt, Sr., East Lake: Attacking right back and defense's motivational leader.

Allison Tucker, Sr., Seminole: Anchors solid back line.

Midfielders

Tess Hipp, Sr., Seminole: The engine behind Seminole's offense.

Thea Linkfield, Jr., Countryside: Leading goal-scorer for the Cougars a year ago.

Alicia Nalley, Sr., East Lake: Florida recruit can take over games as attacking center-mid.

Kendall Narum, Jr., Countryside: LSU recruit is crafty on the ball with speed to match.

Adriana Rodrigues, Jr., St. Petersburg: Amazing playmaker who missed parts of last season while playing for the Brazilian under-17 national team.

Forwards

Kelly Campbell, Sr., CCC: Marauders' leading scorer has offers from USF and Virginia.

Leah Fisher, Sr., East Lake: Game-changing Notre Dame recruit combines blazing speed with an uncanny ability to finish.

Girls soccer preview 11/02/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 5, 2008 11:55am]

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