The big games between Crystal River and Citrus are tonight, with the Hurricane girls and Pirate boys hosting at 7:30 p.m.
Citrus boys coach Steve Ekeli, who coached the Pirates last season, said Crystal River's four defenders - Scotty Hubbard, Jared Green, Sean Mulligan, Eric Swanson - are the best the 'Canes will see all year.
"We're not going to try and beat them, we're going to work the ball around them," Ekeli said. "...You wouldn't meet a better group or smarter group of kids; they are a tough package."
regrouping: The Crystal River boys got a wake-up call with their first loss of the season last week to River Ridge. Pirates coach Michael Callaway said his team was playing well, but the players let a few calls affect their performance. Xavier Villachica, Crystal River's leading scorer with eight goals, scored in the Pirates' 2-1 loss.
Crystal River responded with back-to-back 8-0 wins over North Marion and Dunnellon.
STRIKING DISTANCE: Crystal River forward-midfielder Melissa Blackstone is on pace to set the Pirates' single-season scoring record. Blackstone has netted nine goals and tallied five assists, with nine regular-season games left. Coach Bill Reyes said he believes former standout Jessica Smith set the school record with 19 goals. Former forward Katie Ezzell scored 16 last season, Reyes said.
D-FENSE: Lecanto coach Doug Warren said the Panthers are playing well on defense but struggling to score and finish shots.
"We're getting a lot of shots, but we're not seeing the back of the net," Warren said.
Junior keeper Tyler Jordan is a big part of that, along with senior sweeper Tyler Deem and junior left defender Tanner Summers.
"They're just covering for each other, making sure the offense is marked and there is good communication," Warren said.