FOR THE FANS
THE SEASON: Begins today and continues until Jan. 25. District tournaments are Feb. 3-7. Region tournament games are Feb. 13, 18 and 21. The state tournament is Feb. 21-March 1. Class 4A and 3A tournaments will be held at Pepin-Rood Stadium in Tampa and Class 2A and A tournaments will be held at Ed Radice Sports Complex in Tampa.
ADMISSION: Regular-season games are $4.
KEY DATES: Nov. 21 _ Seminole vs. CCC (an early test for girls teams); Nov. 29-30 _ Coca-Cola Classic tournament (features top local boys and girls teams as well as state powers); Dec. 20, 21 and 23 _ Studentsports.com tournament (pulls area boys teams as well as teams from Calif. and Texas); Jan. 8 _ Countryside vs. PHU (key boys and girls district matchup); Jan. 17 _ Northeast vs. Seminole (boys and girls district championship rematch); Jan. 27-31 _ PCAC tournaments.
PLAYOFFS: The champion and the runner-up from each district advance to the region tournament. The region tournament produces four region champions in each class that meet in the state tournament.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
JENNY BORSCHEL, SR., M, LAKEWOOD: Shares offensive load with teammate and friend Erica Williams, but stands out on the field as a versatile scorer. Put her anywhere and put anyone on her and she feels like she can score.
BRITTENY LEWIS, SR., D, ST. PETERSBURG: Last year's player of the year is back to cause havoc on defense again. She helped the Green Devils to 13 shutouts. Her leadership skills will be called upon as sophomores return as the team's leading scorers.
NIKKI PAQUETTE, SR., G, SEMINOLE: She's still here and still strong in goal. Paquette will get a workout anchoring a young team with a tough schedule.
ASMIR PERVAN, SR., M, NORTHEAST: Led the county in scoring last year. This year will lead a team of 11 seniors whose sense of urgency to do something couldn't be stronger.
TED ANDERSON, SR., M, CC CATHOLIC: Although he hasn't been to practice because he is playing cornerback for CCC's football team, the Marauders can't wait to have him back to help lead a team with 13 rookies.
BRIAN LINN, SR., G, COUNTRYSIDE: Regarded as the best in the county. Linn will support a talented team in a tough district. "When he's on, nothing gets by him," coach Dave Sica said.
CLASS 4A, DISTRICT 6
TEAMS: Bradenton Manatee, Pinellas Park, Sarasota Riverview, Sarasota, Venice.
THE SKINNY: BOYS _ Pinellas Park won the PCAC tournament but lost to undefeated Manatee in the second round of the district tournament. Aside from losing all-county midfielder Thomas Schreck, who transferred, the Patriots have a strong group of underclassmen. GIRLS _ Pinellas Park went 0-15 last year. With a little more experience they hope to pick up at least a few more wins in the PCAC this year.
CLASS 3A, DISTRICT 11
TEAMS: Clearwater, Countryside, Dunedin, East Lake, Largo, Palm Harbor University.
THE SKINNY: BOYS _ Palm Harbor U. knows being defending state champion doesn't mean much in this district. No one gets out easy. Clearwater, Countryside, East Lake and PHU are sure to keep the stakes high in every game. GIRLS _ With a team of mostly sophomores, PHU was region runner-up last season. If they can get through some early injuries, the Hurricanes should be just as strong. Countryside and East Lake, which has a new coach, will battle at the top as well.
CLASS 3A, DISTRICT 12
TEAMS: Boca Ciega, Dixie Hollins, Gibbs, Northeast, St. Petersburg, Seminole.
THE SKINNY: BOYS _ For the past three years, Seminole has been one game away from the state semifinals. With a strong group of returning players, the Warhawks hope to get further. St. Petersburg and Northeast, which returns 11 seniors, will offer the strongest competition. GIRLS _ St. Petersburg is the defending PCAC and district champion, beating Seminole for both titles. Minus two starters, the Green Devils look to finish strong again. Despite having 12 new players, the Warhawks don't plan to miss a beat from last year's 10-0 regular-season district finish. Gibbs has gotten many votes for most improved and Boca Ciega has lots of returning experience.
CLASS 2A, DISTRICT 9
TEAMS: Blake, Brandon, Tampa Freedom, Tampa Jefferson, Lakewood, Osceola, Tampa Robinson, Tampa Bay Tech, Tarpon Springs.
THE SKINNY: BOYS _ Tarpon has a new coach in alumnus Joe Hill after John Friermuth moved on to coach the girls. The Spongers, along with Lakewood and Osceola, should be in the hunt in a district dominated by Tampa teams last year. GIRLS _ Despite the loss of several seniors, Lakewood has a deep bench to help regroup and the Spartans should fair well. Tarpon and Osceola have traditionally strong programs, which helps Pinellas County dominate this district.
CLASS A, DISTRICT 6
TEAMS: Academy of the Holy Names, Berkeley Prep, Clearwater Central Catholic, Cambridge School, Tampa Catholic, Tampa Prep.
THE SKINNY: BOYS _ CCC was hit hard by graduation, losing 10 starters from last year's state championship team. Coach Jim Harte has put together a learn by fire schedule hoping the Marauders will come out stronger in February. Senior midfielders Ted Anderson and Joey Ijjas will be relied on heavily. GIRLS _ The Marauders hope the loss of senior forward Sarah Sheehan to a torn ACL won't disrupt the team's run for state. CCC will have to replace three defenders and a goalie. Senior forward Jessica Hallgren will continue to boost the offense.
CLASS A, DISTRICT 7
TEAMS: Bradenton Academy, Sarasota Cardinal Mooney, Keswick Christian, Northside Christian, St. Petersburg Catholic, Bradenton St. Stephen's Episcopal, Sarasota Christian, Shorecrest.
THE SKINNY: BOYS _ While St. Petersburg Catholic and Cardinal Mooney have tradition on their side, the other teams are gaining experience to make this district more competitive. Keswick returns to district play after two seasons as an independent and expects to be in the running come postseason. GIRLS _ SPC has almost everyone back from last year's district championship team. With striker Lena Mullaney back, look for St. Petersburg Catholic to be the team to beat again. Shorecrest should be in good form as well.
_ Compiled by Laura Lee.