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PIRATES BUILD ON PAST EXPERIENCE

When Pasco faces Bishop Moore tonight, it hopes to rely on its seniors' seasoned play.

Pasco got its first glimpse of Orlando Bishop Moore at a tournament a month ago.

The Pirates first noticed the Hornets' speed. They noted that No. 7 (senior midfielder Kevin Edman) played a lot like Pasco star Jose Montelongo.

They weren't at the Soccer Field Invitational simply to scout the Hornets. The Pirates went for the experience of playing some of the state's best to prepare for the playoffs.

Tonight, they'll face Bishop Moore for the first time. The Pirates admit they know little about the Hornets, other than the mystique that comes from Bishop Moore's 18 consecutive state tournaments. The Hornets have fallen in their past two semifinals, but they beat Hudson 7-1 last week.

"They're always one of the top teams," Pasco senior Alex Hollander said. "... They tore up Hudson. They're obviously a good team."

Pasco is building its own reputation, having reached the playoffs a fifth consecutive season, including advancing beyond this round the past two.

Despite having changed some of the key pieces of those teams, Pasco - the last North Suncoast team standing - hopes to lean on the experienced Pirates for guidance in tonight's Class 4A, Region 2 semifinal.

"We know what it's like to play in tougher games," Hollander said. "We know we're going to have to come out hard and play."

Pasco lost some players from last year's team that reached the region final, but the most significant changes came on defense. Junior goalkeeper Jacob Pollack and defenders William Edwards and Ernesto Garcia have earned praise from Pasco coach Barry Grayling because they've stepped into some tough positions and flourished.

"They've kept us in games pretty well," Grayling said.

FAST FACTS

Class 4A, Region 2 semifinal

Orlando Bishop Moore (17-5-4) vs. Pasco (20-5-2)

When/where: 7 tonight at Pasco

Cost: $6

Web extra: Hudson coach Paul Vescio gives his thoughts on the matchup. His Cobras played Pasco three times and the Hornets once. For Vescio's insight visit blogs.tampabay.com/preps.

Up next:WET, WILD

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