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Soluri, Bogart credit players for teams' success

Crystal River's Dave Soluri and Citrus' Brady Bogart share two things in common: Each coaches a district and conference champion and have lineups loaded with talent.

Neither, though, really wants to take credit for the success of their teams.

"I don't know why you'd do a crazy thing like that," Bogart said when informed he was the All-Citrus/Hernando Girls Coach of the Year.

"I just have good talent around me," he said. "We work hard in practice, so during game time we've been pretty successful."

There's little doubt Bogart's squad has its share of talented players. From senior Amy Bowen to sophomore Amber Presnick, the Hurricanes are loaded with some of the area's best offensive and defensive players.

But talent is one thing. Molding them into champions is another, and that's what has separated Bogart and Soluri from the pack this year.

Bogart's Hurricanes posted an area-best 21-2-3 record, won their third consecutive district title and advanced to the round of 16 in the playoffs, where they were upended 2-1 by Bishop Moore.

The story for Soluri, the All-Citrus/Hernando Boys Coach of the Year, was similar.

His Pirates posted an area-best 18-2-2 mark, won their district and conference championships, set a school record for goals (135) and advanced to the region semifinals for the first time.

Like Bogart, Soluri is quick to credit the talent that surrounds him. At the same time, credit must be given where credit is due. Soluri graduated seven starters from last year's team and didn't have high expectations at the beginning of the season.

However, it didn't take long for him to realize how special his team was.

"This was an unexpected year," Soluri said. "We expected to be rebuilding this year, but everything fell into place. This was a very good group to work with and they did almost everything we asked them to do.

"They were more of a team to coach, and they worked better as a team than what we've had in past years. We've always had good players, but we haven't always been able to get them to play well together."

Soluri and assistant coach Steve Eklie did their best to form the talent into a cohesive unit. Eleven different Crystal River players scored goals, and Donny Caldwell (50), Peter Manzoli (25) and Drew Austin (20) had 20 or more.

Bogart oversaw a similar effort from his team. Bowen led the area with 32 goals and was followed closely by Presnick with 29. In addition, Citrus had Jessica Macdonald (19), Sonya Segars (19), Tabitha Schrufer (10) and Shelia Wollatz (10) with 10 goals or more.

"I've been blessed ever since I stepped into this position," Bogart said. "From Molly (Keating, Florida Atlantic) in net, Melody (Fedor) in center midfield to Amy Bowen and Amber, I've always had good players who've stepped up and played soccer the way it should be played."