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It's tournament time in soccer // Lecanto gets new chance to save season

There's an adage that applies in every sport _ if you don't score, you don't win.

The Lecanto girls have had trouble scoring. As a result, they have had trouble winning.

The punchless Panthers, though, start a new season Monday when the Class 4A, District 5 soccer tournament is held at Crystal River. The Panthers play North Marion at 5:30. Wednesday, Crystal River meets top seed Belleview at 7:30.

For the Panthers, it will be a chance to salvage a season of discontent, injuries, and low-scoring contests. The goal, then, is the goal _ about two a match should do the Panthers fine.

Lecanto is 5-8-3. In matches in which it has scored two or more goals, it is 4-1. In the other matches it is a woeful 1-7-3.

For the season, Lecanto has just 17 goals in 15 matches.

"We need to get it together," said sophomore forward Nicolette Voikin, "but I know we can do it."

The Panthers will enter the district tournament healthier than they have been all season. Voikin, the team's leading scorer, has missed a few matches, as has most every key Panther. Last year's leading scorer, Lindsay Thompson, has missed most of the schedule due to a recurring shoulder injury suffered last year.

Injuries were so decimating that coach Lidia Thompson had to dissolve her junior varsity team two weeks ago to fill her varsity.

"I still have six girls that are hurt," Thompson said. "They are better, but they are still hurt."

The injuries have provided for a lot of positional shuffling. "I've been moving them around a lot," Thompson said. "I think that hurts some."

Voikin, a center midfielder, has played defense. The Panthers have rarely had their starting forward alignment _ Nicole Robinson, Melissa Demangone, Voikin and Thompson _ available. When they do, like in 2-0 and 2-1 wins last week, the offense has played well.

The defense has been exceptional, however, despite playing without keeper Jackie Christensen and some key defensive starters. It has not allowed an opponent to score more than one goal in the past seven matches, and has five shutouts.

"This team is a young team, and we've had a lot of confusion," Voikin said. "But we have a lot of confidence in our team. We've got to get past that, go on to districts, and take over."


WHERE: Crystal River.

WHEN: Monday _ Lecanto vs. North Marion, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday _ Crystal River vs. Belleview, 7:30 p.m. Friday _ Championship at 5:30 p.m.

SEEDING: 1. Belleview, 2. North Marion, 3. Lecanto, 4. Crystal River.

OUTLOOK: Lecanto and Crystal River can advance to the regional tournament with wins in their opening matches. The top two teams in the district move on. Lecanto will meet North Marion. The Colts and Panthers played twice during the season and both matches were 1-1 ties. Crystal River was 0-2 versus Belleview, whose only district slip was a 2-1 decision to Lecanto. The Diamondback Rattlers beat the Pirates 4-1 in the season-opener, and 1-0 in the second meeting. The Pirates have had their moments this season, beating Hernando, North Marion and Lecanto. But like the Panthers, they haven't scored much and will need to snap a recent goal slump. Crystal River has been shut out in seven of its past nine matches.