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)

Pinellas: Boys soccer district preview

Countryside’s Nikolai Hammer, left, and Palm Harbor U’s Daniel Enciso are aiming for deep postseason runs.


Countryside’s Nikolai Hammer, left, and Palm Harbor U’s Daniel Enciso are aiming for deep postseason runs.

Since the boys state soccer tournament started in 1977, Pinellas County has had at least one team make a final 23 of those years. The county also has won 20 state titles, including nine by Clearwater Central Catholic, the most by any program in the state.

Last season, two teams — Palm Harbor University (6A) and Seminole (5A) — made it to the finals and lost.

What are the chances of a Pinellas team making it to a final again?

With district tournaments starting this week, the St. Petersburg Times answers three pressing questions:

1. Is this the season Countryside makes a run?

With a veteran squad, the Cougars were expected to be the county's most dominant team, and they have lived up to the hype, with just one loss going into the district tournament. The Cougars are ranked No. 33 in the nation in the latest ESPN Rise Fab 50 poll. Countryside also has the No. 1 seed in Class 6A-7 and is undefeated against its district counterparts. The Cougars are led by three players who have already committed to colleges: Nikolai Hammer (Furman), Hunter Maricle (Virginia Tech) and Jagger Martinez (Northwestern). Hammer leads the team in scoring with 18 goals. Though things have aligned nicely for Countryside to make a run at its first state title since 2006, it has to get past its recent poor performances in the postseason. The Cougars have made the playoffs just twice in the past four seasons and have advanced to the region final just once in that span.

2. Can Palm Harbor University and Seminole get back to the state tournament?

Both teams had senior-laden lineups last season, and that experience helped each get to the state championship games in their respective classifications. But graduation took its toll on the Hurricanes and Warhawks. Both teams were young when this season began, and it showed. Palm Harbor University has the No. 3 seed in 6A-7 and will have to get past some tough Sarasota teams just to make it to the final. Seminole, which had a losing record most of the season, came on in the second half and clinched the No. 2 seed in 5A-11. But the Warhawks will still likely face top-seeded East Lake in the final and possibly the region semifinals if they get that far.

3. What other teams have a chance of making a strong playoff run?

East Lake, the top seed in 5A-11, was ranked among the top three teams in the county all year and handed Countryside its only loss. Though it has had some uneven seasons recently, Clearwater Central Catholic was solid with a 15-5 record and clinched the No. 2 seed in 3A-10.



Tuesday: Sarasota (5) at St. Petersburg (4), 7 p.m.; North Port (6) at Palm Harbor University (3), 7; Wednesday: Sarasota/St. Petersburg winner at Countryside (1), 7; North Port/PHU winner at Sarasota Riverview (2), 7; Friday: final, 7 (highest seeded Pinellas team hosts unless two Sarasota teams are in the final, in which case highest seeded Manatee team hosts)

5A-12 at Boca Ciega

Tuesday: Boca Ciega (4) vs. Gibbs (5), 7; Wednesday: Pinellas Park (1) vs. Boca Ciega/Gibbs winner vs. Pinellas Park (1), 6; Northeast (2) vs. Largo (3), 8; Friday: final, 7

5A-11 at East Lake

Tuesday: Dunedin (4) vs. Tarpon Springs (5), 6:30; Wednesday: East Lake (1) vs. Dunedin/Tarpon Springs winner, 6:30; Seminole (2) vs. Clearwater (3), 8; Friday: final, 7


Tuesday: Bayshore (5) at Lakewood (4), 7; Palmetto (7) at Osceola (2), 7; Dixie Hollins (6) at Braden River (3), 7; Wednesday: Bayshore/Lakewood winner at Lakewood Ranch (1), 7; Palmetto/Osceola winner vs. Dixie Hollins/Braden River winner, 7 (highest seed hosts); Friday: final, 7 (highest seed hosts)

3A-10 at Berkeley Prep

Wednesday: Clearwater Central Catholic (2) vs. Tampa Catholic (3), 5; Berkeley Prep (1) vs. St. Petersburg Catholic (4), 7; Friday: final, 7

2A-10 at Shorecrest

Monday: Sarasota Out of Door (2) vs. Keswick Christian (7), 5; Bradenton St. Stephen's (1) vs. Cambridge Christian (8), 7; Tuesday: Bradenton Christian (4) vs. Northside Christian (5), 5; Shorecrest (3) vs. Admiral Farragut (6), 7; Wednesday: Shorecrest/Admiral Farragut winner vs. Out of Door/Keswick winner, 5; St. Stephen's/Cambridge winner vs. Bradenton Chr./Northside winner, 7; Friday: final, 7


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

Pinellas: Boys soccer district preview 01/22/11 [Last modified: Saturday, January 22, 2011 10:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends


    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.