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CCC overwhelms Palmetto 7-0

CLEARWATER - Striker Brian Siracusa scored three goals and midfielder John Lannon scored two as Clearwater Central Catholic ripped Palmetto 7-0 for the Class 2A, Region V soccer title Tuesday night at Marauder Field. CCC, the defending Class 2A state champion, will play North Palm Beach-Benjamin on Friday for the Section III title. The Buccaneers beat Fort Myers-Bishop Verot 2-1 Tuesday in Region VI.

Todd Drum and Doug Martin also scored for the Marauders (25-1-3), who routed Tigers for the third time this season. CCC, which outshot Palmetto 50-1 in Tuesday's game, has outscored the Tigers (8-11-1) 32-1 in 1989-90.

Siracusa scored twice late in the first half and again just after intermission. The senior, who has netted 23 goals this season, also bounced several shots off the posts and sent several more just wide.

Lannon netted both his goals in a five-minute span after Siracusa's third score.

Drum scored the Marauders' first goal with 17 minutes remaining in the first half. After two CCC shots were smothered by the Palmetto defense, a third was cleared away to the perfectly positioned Drum. The junior defender settled the ball and sent a 40-yard shot over a mass of Tigers and into the back of the net.

CCC this season is playing for an unprecedented fifth state soccer title. Only the Marauders and Class 4A Miami Killian have won four.

3A-V: St. Petersburg defeats Jesuit 2-1

ST. PETERSBURG - Justin DeStoppelaire scored two goals to lift St. Petersburg over Jesuit 2-1 in the Class 3A, Region V championship Tuesday night. St. Petersburg (19-4-2) will next face Wellington, a 3-2 winner over Fort Myers-Cypress Lake in Region VI.

Just 24 seconds into the match, Aksone Phetsadasack fed DeStoppelaire with a through-ball to the top of the penalty area. The forward controlled the ball and tallied with the first shot for either team.

"We had eye contact," said DeStoppelaire, "and Aksone gave me the ball in the open space. I think it fired (Jesuit) up more than it did us."

"Our game plan from the beginning was to attack relentlessly," Jesuit coach Bob Bauman said. The Tigers (14-7-3) did just that, until forward Brian Valdez connected with a header to tie the game midway through the first half.

Moments before halftime, Valdez came back into his own end to defend a Green Devil corner kick. A shot rocketed toward Valdez, who carefully cleared the ball from the goal line.

Also in the first half, St. Pete striker Rivers Guthrie launched two shots from the top of the area, missing each just wide.

DeStoppelaire notched the game-winner at 68 minutes when he picked up a loose ball from 13 yards out and bounced in a shot off the post.

"I was wide open," DeStoppelaire said. "The defender was nowhere near me. I knew it was going to come to me." Steve Winsor made a run into the Jesuit defense and found DeStoppelaire unmarked.

4A-IV: Sarasota holds on to top Clearwater 2-1

SARASOTA - Sarasota held off a late rally to edge Clearwater 2-1 Tuesday night in the Class 4A, Region IV boys soccer match.

The Sailors (16-2-2) captured their second consecutive regional championship and will play at Bloomingdale in the sectional game, at 7 p.m. Friday. Bloomingdale edged Gaither 1-0 Tuesday night in regional play. Last year, Gaither shut out Sarasota 2-0 in the sections and advanced to the state tournament.

"We sure would like another shot in the sections," Sarasota coach Al Solari said. "We are playing really well right now."

Behind the outstanding play of goalkeeper Danny Burko, the Sailors held off a furious rally by the Tornadoes (9-6-3) in the final five minutes of the game.

Sarasota had a comfortable 2-0 margin before the Tornadoes' leading scorer Mike Tennian launched a 40-yard shot which Burko never saw.

Burko made three critical saves down the stretch to perserve the win for Sarasota.

- Correspondents Steve Dommer and Wayne McKnight contributed to this report.

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