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Pirates vex opposing goalie

Crystal River forward Xavier Villachica ran down the sideline after scoring the eventual winner and threw up his hands, motioning the spectators to get excited.

That wasn't a problem for the Pirates fans. They watched Crystal River control possession and defeat Citrus 2-1.

From the first whistle, Crystal River (8-1, 6-0 Class 4A, District 6) drilled Citrus' goal. The Pirates broke through in the sixth minute after a Citrus foul gave them a chance to set up 30 yards outside of the 'Canes goal. Villachica lofted the ball into the box and Matt Zarek headed it just inside the far post.

Citrus (5-4, 3-3) weathered the storm in the first half, then took advantage of a Pirates' defensive lapse almost immediately after the second half started. Senior forward Bryan Tobin won the one-on-one battle with the goalkeeper.

But defensive lapses were few. With four senior defenders and a senior goalkeeper who had given up two goals all season, that's what Pirates coach Michael Callaway expects.

"They've worked together for so long that they're kind of in synch with what each other is doing," Callaway said.

"It's kind of hard to beat them."

Citrus didn't really get off another quality shot until late in the game. Crystal River, with its high-speed attack, outshot Citrus 30-6.

The Pirates struck within eight minutes of Citrus' goal. Villachica scored the winner off a cross from Richard Wilson.

The game was bittersweet for Citrus coach Steve Ekeli, who coached Crystal River last year. The school chose not to renew his contract because he wasn't a teacher.

"I know what (Citrus has) accomplished so far, and I know what we're going to accomplish," Ekeli said. "It's kind of a neat thing to see."

RESCHEDULED: The Class 4A, District 6 girls soccer game between Citrus and Crystal River Wednesday night was canceled due to a lack of referees. Crystal River coach Bill Reyes said he hopes to reschedule the district game before the holiday break.

Kellie Dixon can be reached at or (352) 544-9480