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TEAM CAPSULES

Citrus

COACH: Andrew Castorina (first year).

LAST SEASON: 12-11-4. Lost in first round of Class 2A playoffs.

TOP PLAYERS: Eric Dolan, Sr., SW; Chris Gatto, So., C-MF; Kevin Hanlon, Jr., GK; Matt Steelfox, So., C-F; Andy Stuart, So., C-MF; Keith Zigler, Sr., D.

OUTLOOK: Alex Posta, the school's all-time leading scorer, graduated, leaving the Hurricanes with quite a void to fill. But Castorina, a 23-year-old former Lecanto player, thinks he has the players to compete for a playoff spot. Citrus starts four seniors but has only five on the roster. Co-captains Dolan and Zigler will be looked to for leadership as the Hurricanes break in several newcomers. Castorina said Citrus might be young but is not inexperienced. Most of his players have years of youth/club league experience. Steelfox has taken over at center/midfield, Posta's old spot. He has excellent speed and ball-handling skills. The Hurricanes are small but quick. Developing chemistry will be key.

QUOTABLE: "Our team is young but has a lot to offer," Castorina said. "The younger kids are going to progress and the older kids are going to take charge. I think when all the kids totally mesh and are sure of their ability, we can compete with all the area teams."

Crystal River

COACH: Bobby Verlato (second year).

LAST SEASON: 14-4-2. Lost in first round of Class 2A playoffs.

TOP PLAYERS: Josh Caldwell, Sr., Mid ; Paul Thomas, Sr., sweeper; Justin Loriss, Mid; Morgan Rise, Sr., Forward; Michael Grybek, Sr., D; Kevin Griffin, So., D.

OUTLOOK: The defending district champions return all-area first-teamer Caldwell (27 goals, 15 assists), but second and third-leading goal scorers Drew Austin and John Wester decided not to play. The Pirates lost another scorer, all-area first-teamer Kyle Nayfield (13 goal, 17 assists), to graduation. "We scored 109 goals last year and between them lost about 70 goals," Verlato said. Standout sweeper and first-team pick Kyle Griffin, as well as honorable mention pick Brad Deitemeyer also graduated. The Pirates took another hit when incoming sweeper Matt Ryals suffered a season-ending injury in the first game of the season, and several players had to shift positions. There will be new faces in the lineup. Center/midfielder junior Cory Nayfield is a first-year starter and junior Jimmy Turner, who spent time on the bench, is the true keeper. Verlato said he expects big things out of newcomers Corey Shuster, a junior forward, freshman defender Sean Duffney and freshman midfielder Jon Livesay.

QUOTABLE: "It's a rebuilding year, we lost a lot to graduation and we have to fill those holes," Verlato said.

Lecanto

COACH: Doug Warren (first year).

LAST SEASON: 11-10-2. Lost in district semifinals.

TOP PLAYERS: Josh McKenna, Jr., Mid; Jeremy Cox, Jr., Mid; Sean O'Hara, Jr., D; Adam Yule, Sr., D; Chris Hudek, So., D.

OUTLOOK: Warren is the new head coach after Bruce Sheffield called it quits, but is in his fifth year with the team. He has no plans to make changes in the system, especially after taking over so close to the beginning of the season. He has a solid group of players to work with. Scorers McKenna and Cox were both honorable mention all-area picks last year. Keeper Chris Thomashunis will fill the shoes of graduated keeper Nick Rowthorn, who earned honorable mention all-area credentials to cap off his four-year varsity career. O'Hara, Yule and Hudek will be the anchors on defense. The Panthers should have balance, something that could make them a dangerous team.

QUOTABLE: "I think we had a lot of improvement the last three years with coach Sheffield and want to continue in that direction," Warren said.

_ KRISTEN LEIGH PORTER,

KEITH NIEBUHR

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