WHERE: Leesburg (on campus).
TEAMS: Central, Citrus, Clermont East Ridge, Crystal River, Groveland South Lake, Lecanto, Leesburg and Springstead.
SCHEDULE: Monday _ No. 8 Crystal River vs. No. 1 Springstead, 6 p.m.; No. 2 Leesburg vs. No. 7 South Lake, 8. Tuesday _ No. 5 Lecanto vs. No. 4 Central, 6 p.m.; No. 3 Citrus vs. No. 6 Clermont East Ridge, 8. Wednesday _ Semifinals, 6 and 8 p.m. Friday _ Final, 7:30 p.m.
THE RUB: The race for the title appears to be wide open. Citrus (10-4-5 overall, 7-3-4 in the district) might have the best chance of the county squads to advance. The Hurricanes started 1-3 but didn't lose again until mid-January. They tied East Ridge both regular-season meetings, so expect a quarterfinal battle. Citrus' balanced scoring attack is led by Jenny Floyd and Kayla Nelson. Rebecca Gemble might be the squad's top defender. Lecanto (5-6-3 in 4A-9) is more than capable of pulling an upset or two. The Panthers get their scoring from freshman Natalie Burnette and defense from the reliable Nikki Field. Crystal River (2-9-3 in 4A-9), led by Amber Keller on offense and a defense that last week posted back-to-back shutouts, has improved greatly in recent weeks. But beating the top seed is no easy task. "We told the girls, "This is a tournament I could see any of the top six or seven teams winning,' " Hurricanes coach Tracy Buettner said. "It's just going to be, who wants to go out and play their best."
_ KEITH NIEBUHR