Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

North Suncoast boys soccer district preview

Pasco’s Eric Garcia, left, may have to fill a possible scoring void left by Alex Garcia.

Times (2009)

Pasco’s Eric Garcia, left, may have to fill a possible scoring void left by Alex Garcia.

There's plenty of concern among the North Suncoast boys soccer coaches entering the district tournaments. There have been some inexplicable losses, key players missing and all-in-all simply too many questions about performances this late in the season. And it remains to be seen if the North Suncoast's top teams — Mitchell and Land O'Lakes — will finally meet. Five teams with worries as they enter district play:

Land O'Lakes

The Gators obviously were rattled by the news senior captain Frank Villar suffered a season-ending knee injury (torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus). He was a significant cog in the Gators' 14-3-2 season. But Land O'Lakes has plenty of talent and has been dominant in district play, outscoring opponents 77-13. The Gators are solid with Kody Parker in net, but they will need players such as Jon Siragusa, Tim Falcon and Justin Lyles to step up. But having played some of the state's stiffest competition — King, Plant, Tallahassee Lincoln, Orlando Bishop Moore, etc. — should have the Gators battle-tested for the playoffs.


The Pirates (14-2-1) suffered a stunning 2-0 loss at Sunlake last Monday. Word circulated that Pasco was without scoring star Alex Garcia, though coach Barry Grayling did not return a message seeking comment. Athletic director Jim Ward said he could not confirm if Garcia would be out for the remainder of the season. If he does not play, Garcia's absence would be huge considering he leads the Pirates with 27 goals and 59 points. The Pirates have had six consecutive playoff berths, including a trip to the Class 4A final four in 2006. Of course, this is Pasco, a program usually blessed with plenty of strong skill players. Look for players such as Eric Garcia (13 goals, 11 assists) and Jose Flores (11 goals, four assists) to step up.


Maybe the biggest surprise of the year is the success of Sunlake (19-2), with its biggest wins coming against Pasco, River Ridge and Wesley Chapel. But only two of the teams Sunlake has faced had winning records. Based on how the district tournament shakes out, Sunlake could face Wiregrass Ranch in the semifinals. The Bulls defeated the Seahawks once this season, and the second game was canceled last week. So far, Jordan Landry (11 goals, two assists) and Miguel Laliberte (seven goals, eight assists) have stood out for the Seahawks.

Wiregrass Ranch

The Bulls (15-3-2) were rolling along until Gulf stunned them 4-1 last week, snapping a six-match win streak. One thing that should settle the nerves is the play of senior Steven Esoff, who leads the Bulls with 26 goals and 11 assists. Before having a four-game scoring streak end, he had eight goals in four consecutive wins. Esoff has had nine games with multiple goals, including back-to-back four-goal games in wins vs. Ridgewood and Hernando.


The Mustangs (17-2-4) have been stellar, and they were the first North Suncoast team to knock off Pasco. Mitchell is coming off a 1-0 loss to Tampa Prep, and like Land O'Lakes, the Mustangs have plowed through tough competition (Countryside, Palm Harbor University, Orlando Dr. Phillips). The Mustangs are led by David Vasquez with 14 goals and 11 assists, and Jason Leslie with nine goals and six assists.


District tournament schedules


Tuesday: Ocala Forest (1) vs. Ocala West Port (4), 6 at Forest; Springstead (2) vs. Central (3), 6 at Springstead; Friday: Final, 6 at Forest

4A-8 at Sunlake

Monday: Zephyrhills (8) vs. Lecanto (9), 7; Tuesday: Wiregrass Ranch (2) vs. Hernando (7), 2; Sunlake (3) vs. Nature Coast (6), 4; River Ridge (4) vs. Citrus (5), 6; Land O'Lakes (1) vs. Zephyrhills/Lecanto winner, 8; Wednesday: Wiregrass Ranch/Hernando winner vs. Sunlake/Nature Coast winner, 6; Land O'Lakes/Zephyrhills-Lecanto winner vs. River Ridge/Citrus winner, 8; Friday: Final, 7

4A-7 at Mitchell

Tuesday: Wesley Chapel (4) vs. Hudson (5), 4; Gulf (3) vs. Ridgewood (6), 6; Mitchell (2) vs. Anclote (7), 8; Wednesday: Pasco (1) vs. Wesley Chapel/Hudson winner, 6; Gulf/Ridgewood winner vs. Mitchell/Anclote winner, 8; Friday: Final, 7

2A-9 at Bishop McLaughlin

Monday: Bishop McLaughlin (3) vs. Academy at the Lakes (6), 3:30; Calvary Christian (4) vs. Hernando Christian (5), 5:30; Indian Rocks Christian (2) vs. Carrollwood Day (7), 7:30; Tuesday: Bishop McLaughlin/AATL winner vs. IRC/Carrollwood Day winner, 5; Calvary/Hernando Chr. winner vs. Tampa Prep (1), 5; Friday: Final, 7

North Suncoast boys soccer district preview 01/23/10 [Last modified: Saturday, January 23, 2010 10:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip


    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  2. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games


    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.
  3. RHP Alex Cobb feeling safer as Rays make playoff push

    The Heater

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing in the fourth inning of the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
  4. HomeTeam 100: Players 61-70


    Jefferson wide receiver Dontavius Smith during the game between Jefferson High School and Jesuit High School at Jesuit on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
  5. A second chance at life, away from the game he loved

    The Heater

    Dylan Delso, a catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays' Gulf Coast League team, displays his scar at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. On June 25, 2016 Delso fell backward down a flight of stairs, suffering a nearly fatal head injury that put him in a coma for eight days. He's finally back on the baseball field after a miraculous recovery.