The best season in Nature Coast history didn't end the way the Sharks had envisioned.
Nature Coast fell 4-1 in the Class 3A, District 6 semifinals to host Leesburg on Thursday after falling behind early.
The Sharks (10-8-1) surrendered a goal in the 13th minute, but the team did not seem derailed. However, quick scores from Leesburg (13-6-1) in the 19th and 24th minutes changed that. It was difficult for Nature Coast to deal with a 3-0 deficit going into the locker room at halftime.
"We were definitely surprised by the way it started," Nature Coast coach Ian Wald said. "We thought we had a good chance to win, but the kids felt a little bit defeated when we talked to them at the half."
The Sharks looked solid for the first 20 minutes of the second half. Once the Yellow Jackets pushed in another goal, they were unable to regroup.
The lone goal for Nature Coast came from junior William Sandifer. The score was only his second of the season, and it was assisted on a pass from fellow junior Chris Howell.
Nature Coast loses only two starters to graduation. The 10 wins and district semifinal berth are both best in the program's 10-year history.
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Wiregrass shut out by Freedom
Because it had to forfeit 12 victories for unknowingly using an ineligible player, Steinbrenner's No. 6 seed in the Class 4A, District 8 tournament was highly misleading.
Gaither's passion and prolific offense were not.
In an emotional, physical contest, the No. 2-seeded Cowboys (16-4-1) got two goals from senior forward Jonas Bukh in a 4-2 semifinal triumph.
In the first semifinal, Freedom (11-5-1) got two goals and an assist from junior Jett Wright in a 4-0 triumph against short-handed Wiregrass Ranch. The Patriots are undefeated in six matches in 2012.
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Bulls runner picks Saint Leo
Wiregrass Ranch senior David Hill has orally committed to run cross country at Saint Leo, Bulls coach Chris Loth said. Hill will receive a partial athletic scholarship. He was a first-team, all-Sunshine Athletic Conference pick and qualified individually for regionals and state, where he finished 31st. He was an all-North Suncoast pick with a season-best time of 16:26.
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Leopards' Hambrick travels to Gainesville
Hernando junior Darren Hambrick will attend Florida's junior day Saturday, Leopards coach John Palmer said.
Hambrick, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound pass rusher, is the son of a former Pasco standout and UF Gator of the same name. Hambrick was second on the team with 81 tackles and 51/2 sacks last fall to help Hernando to a district title and was an all-North Suncoast player the past two seasons.
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Eagles volleyball standout commits
Springstead senior setter Allyson Schillinger has orally committed to Division II Philadelphia University, her club coach, Doug Chinchar, said. Schillinger was one of the key players for the Eagles and helped Springstead advance to the Class 6A region semifinals before losing to Gainesville.
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Mitchell P/OF chooses Covenant College
Mitchell senior pitcher/outfielder Garrett Kriston will sign with Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Ga., next week, said his father, Jim. The 6-foot-2 Kriston hit .400 last season, and posted a 6.16 ERA with 35 strikeouts, 19 walks and a 2-3 record. Kriston is in the medical academy at Mitchell and plans to be a pre-med majorwith the hopes of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.