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Pinellas girls soccer preview

Seminole’s Gina Hayduke, right, had 20 goals and 13 assists last season.

EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times

Seminole’s Gina Hayduke, right, had 20 goals and 13 assists last season.

Palm Harbor University coach John Planamenta knew this day would come.

Seven starters who formed a solid nucleus on the Hurricanes' state championship teams in 2009 (Class 5A) and 2010 (6A) have graduated.

The biggest loss is Catherine Brinkman, the St. Petersburg Times girls player of the year last season who scored 40 goals and finished her career with 110.

"We're going to be young," Planamenta said.

But the Hurricanes' exodus of starters has not been much of a gain for other teams. Many of them are feeling a sense of loss.

Countryside's Thea Linkfield, Seminole's Megan Lawrence and East Lake's Tatiana Perez — all first-team, all-county selections last season — have graduated. Several other teams lost their go-to player as well.

"The good thing is we're rebuilding along with a lot of other teams," Planamenta said.

The Warhawks, who lost in the Class 5A state title game, are best equipped for another run. Though they lose Lawrence, they still have Sierra Lelii and Gina Hayduke, the county's top returning scoring tandem.

PHU, despite having its best player leave and losing several others, isn't ready to give up.

Planamenta sees success for his young team, led by Paige Lombard, who will help fill the leadership vacuum created by the departure of Brinkman and others.

A young team with a promising future, the Hurricanes are playing a tough schedule in hopes of making another appearance in the state title game.

That hasn't changed.

Five to watch

F Lindsey Cooper, Sr., Clearwater Central Catholic: The Florida recruit is the Marauders' top offensive threat who can attack from anywhere on the field.

F Sierra Lelii, Sr., Seminole: The county's top returning player scored a team-high 34 goals and led the Warhawks to the Class 5A state final.

M Paige Lombard, Jr., Palm Harbor University: The Hurricanes will count on her leadership after losing solid players to graduation.

M Gina Hayduke, Jr., Seminole: A consistent threat, Hayduke had 20 goals and 13 assists and scored her team's only goal in the state final.

F Kelly Phipps, So., Palm Harbor University: A steady scorer, Phipps produced the winning goal — a 25-yarder — in overtime of last season's state title game.

Top teams

Clearwater Central Catholic: Lindsey Cooper teams with two other senior captains, Torey Camporini and Jenn Marzi, on a veteran team that has 15 returning juniors and seniors.

Countryside: The scorers graduated, as did the goalkeeper. Still, the Cougars will be a contender, led by Riley Narum.

East Lake: Though the Eagles lose some key seniors, they will continue to be tough with the return of Caitlyn Lopez and Lauren Polito in the midfield and defense, as well as scorers Amanda Byrne and Madison DelDuca.

Palm Harbor University: The defending Class 6A champs have to replace a good portion of their lineup, but there is plenty of depth.

St. Petersburg: The Green Devils will be young after saying goodbye to a strong senior nucleus, but they should be in the mix in a tough district.

St. Petersburg Catholic: Maggie Dalessio and Meggie Dougherty-Howard will keep opponents off the scoreboard and the Barons in games.

Seminole: Noel Forsman and Sierra Lelii could form the county's top goal-scoring tandem. Forsman set a school record with 24 assists last season.

For the fans

Admission: Most schools charge $4 for regular-season games.

Regular season: The first day that games are permitted is today. A team may not play more than 25 games, including tournaments. The season ends Jan. 15.

Postseason: District tournaments are Jan. 17-21. The 16 district winners and 16 runnersup in each classification advance to region tournaments, which begin Jan. 27. The final four teams in each of the six classifications advance to the state tournament Feb. 9-12

Key dates

Nov. 11: Palm Harbor University at East Lake

Nov. 17: East Lake at Seminole

Nov. 30: SPC at CCC, PHU at St. Petersburg

Dec. 6: PHU at Seminole

Dec. 7: St. Petersburg at Countryside

Dec. 13-17: Hurricane Watch Tournament

Jan. 3: Seminole at East Lake

Jan. 5: Berkeley Prep at CCC

Jan. 14: PCAC final

Districts

Class 6A-7: Countryside, North Port, Palm Harbor University, Sarasota, Sarasota Riverview, St. Petersburg

Class 5A-11: Clearwater, Dunedin, East Lake, Seminole, Tarpon Springs

Class 5A-12: Boca Ciega, Gibbs, Largo, Northeast, Pinellas Park

Class 4A-10: Bradenton Bayshore, Bradenton Lakewood Ranch, Braden River, Dixie Hollins, Lakewood, Osceola, Palmetto

Class 3A-10: Holy Names, Berkeley Prep, Clearwater Central Catholic, St. Petersburg Catholic, Tampa Catholic

Class 2A-9: Bishop McLaughlin, Calvary Christian, Carrollwood Day, Indian Rocks Christian, Tampa Prep

Class 2A-10: Admiral Farragut, Bradenton Christian, Bradenton St. Stephen's, Cambridge, Keswick Christian, Northside Christian, Sarasota Out-of-Door, Shorecrest

Pinellas girls soccer preview 10/31/10 [Last modified: Sunday, October 31, 2010 9:19pm]
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