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TEAMS AT A GLANCE

CITRUS

COACH: Brady Bogart, sixth season.

LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 21-2-3. Defeated Springstead 3-0 in regional quarterfinal; lost to eventual state semifinalist Orlando Bishop Moore 2-1 in regional semifinal.

TOP RETURNEES: Amber Presnick, Jr., CM; Whitney Gelin, Jr., LD; Sonya Segars, Jr., F; Laura Woythaler, Jr., GK; Amanda Yoder, Jr., M; Danialle Coates, Sr., SW; Jessica Macdonald, Sr., F.

TOP NEWCOMERS: Jenny Floyd, So., M; Rebecca Gemble, So., D; Mettina Maggiore, Jr., D; Amanda Johnson, Sr., D; Julia Brandtner, Jr., F.

THE SKINNY: If Monday's 6-2 victory over Gainesville Eastside is any indicator, Citrus will continue as the predominant power in the county. The Hurricanes lost a handful of solid starters, including Amy Bowen, who scored 165 goals in her four-year career. However, in most cases, Citrus replaces them with players of equal ability and skill. The 'Canes will be tough on defense and, as usual, the offense will move through Presnick, a dynamic center midfielder. Her cool head and smooth skills have created interest from coaches at Florida State and the University of Florida, among others.

CRYSTAL RIVER

COACH: Eli Jackson, second season.

LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 8-10-2. Lost to Crystal River 2-0 in district semifinal.

TOP RETURNEES: Ashley Williams, Jr., F; Eleshia Young, Jr., CM; Sally Neill, So., M; Julie Fioretti, Sr., ST; Amber Keller, So., D; Tiffany Goode, So., D; Lauren Cummins, So., GK; Jennifer Bruns, Jr., D/M.

TOP NEWCOMERS: Andrea Poole, So., M; Eleshia Fitzpatrick, Fr., D; Chasity Garcia, Fr., F; Katie Hubbard, Fr., F.

THE SKINNY: After years in the cellar, Crystal River emerged with its best season last year and claimed the No. 3 seed in the district tournament. However, the Pirates will have to overcome the loss of top scorer Stephanie Bernabe (16 goals), who moved to North Carolina during the offseason. Crystal River is young, with eight of the 11 starting positions occupied by sophomores and freshmen. The key will be maintaining the foundation the Pirates built last year, which means consistent improvement throughout the season.

LECANTO

COACH: Kevin Towne, fifth season.

LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 17-5-2. Defeated Zephyrhills 2-1 in regional quarterfinal; lost to Daytona Beach Seabreeze 4-0 in semifinal.

TOP RETURNEES: Danni Sowell, Jr., LF; Amber Gidden, Jr., CF; Alicia Short, Jr., RF; Lisa Arnold, So., RF; Holly Johnson, Sr., LM; Heather Vantine, Sr., RM; Angela Bowman, Sr., M; Jenny Wheeler, Jr., ST; Nikki Fields, So., SW; Teala Shelton, Sr., RD; Trisha Chenowith, Sr., GK.

TOP NEWCOMERS: Jenny Worthington, Fr., CM; Tracie Messer, Sr., LD; Mandi Waldron, So., M; Jessica Ricci, Fr., D.

THE SKINNY: Lecanto is as strong as it has been, with all the key components from last year's playoff squad returning. There may not be a stronger team up the middle. Gidden is back after a 29-goal effort last season and is even better after a year of club ball. Equally daunting for opponents is the defensive trio of Chenowith, Wheeler and Fields. The key may be the midfield and growth of Worthington in a key role. The Panthers never have beaten Citrus in their history, though they came within a goal last season. However, with all the weapons at Lecanto's disposal, this may be the year.

_ CAREY FREEMAN

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