Saturday, January 23, 2010

Preps: Plant's season starts now; District final wrap-up

After defeating Bloomingdale 1-0 to win the Class 6A-District 8 title, the Plant Panthers' season begins now.

And after a dominant defensive dsiplay against the Bulls, detailed here by the St. Petersburg Times' Eduardo A. Encina, the Panthers look ready to put the disappointment of last season's region quarterfinals loss to East Lake behind them.

Particularly impressive in the way the Panthers played was the composure they showed defensively. Coach Steve McGill said after the game how pleased he was was with the decision-making his defense and midfield showed.

"We didn't have any miscommunications back there," McGill said. "They played safe, played safe balls out. We did a really nice job of covering each other tonight; when one stepped up, another always dropped back just in case. They were really active on the defensive end."

The Panthers wll host Countryside on Thursday evening after the Cougars fell to ESPN Rise No.10 Palm Harbor University in the 6A-7 final. The Times' Bryan Burns details here how the Hurricanes dominated in a 4-0 victory to take their eighth straight district title. At this point, PHU has to be considered a favorite to win back-to-back state titles after winning the Class 5A championship last season.

In Class 5A, Newsome cruised to the District 8 title with a 3-0 victory against East Bay. The Tribune's Jarrett Guthrie was at the game, and details here how the Wolves were able to earn their second straight 5A-8 title.

Newsome believed its victory made a statement, and so did its former district rival Freedom in a 5-0 victory against Hillsborough to take the 5A-9 title. The Times' Todd Foley writes here that the Terriers didn't manage a shot as the Patriots dominated possession, running away with the game with four second-half goals.

The perceived favorite to reach the final four from the Patriots' region is Seminole, who earned the 5A-11 crown with a 3-1 victory against East Lake. Sierre Lelii scored twice, and told The Times' Nathan Cowan here that this was the first step for the Warhawks, who will face Northeast in the region quarterfinals after the Vikings lost 2-1 to Largo in the 5A-12 final.

As expected, Steinbrenner dominated Robinson 8-0 to win a district title in its first season. The Warriors will wait to find out who they play later today as Lakewood Ranch faces Palmetto in the 4A-10 final at 2 p.m.

In Pasco County, Hudson needed a goal from Alicia Schuering in the second period of overtime to get past Mitchell 2-1 for the 4A-7 title, The Tribune's Mike Camunas providing the details here. The Cobras will host Land O' Lakes in the region quartefinals after River Ridge won its fifth straight district title with a 3-1 victory against the Gators.

Berkeley Prep got a goal from Sam Newhaller to give the Buccaneers a 1-0 victory and the 3A-10 title against Clearwater Central Catholic, but CCC played far better than they had in previous encounter's, which should give them hope if the two teams meet again in a region semifinal.

Tampa Prep, on the other hand, got five goals from Colby Maffei as it blasted Indian Rocks Christian 8-0, which apparently shouldn't have given the Terrapins the additional motivation it did after the semifinals. The Terrapins will now face Shorecrest Prep, which gave up three late goals to Bradenton St. Stephen's to fall 3-1 in the 2A-10 final.

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