by Jonathan Stone
Kenneth Brenning’s Central High School Bears girls soccer team may be winless, but their attitude and commitment is far from it. The week started off just about as bad as it could possibly be with a 9-0 mercy rule loss on the road at Lecanto, but the bus drive home must have given them time to regroup and get ready to go again. That’s exactly what they did on Wednesday night – getting back on the bus and travelling to Crystal River where they gained just their second team point of the season in a battling 3-3 tie with goals from Dionna Knox, Brooke Brenning and Grace Bennett cancelling out the Pirates. On to Friday night and it was in form Citrus who came to the Bears Den. With the scoreline firmly at 0-0 at half time the Bears looked on course to get something against a team with a 6-2-1 record. But it just wasn’t to be as Mark Cassidy’s Hurricanes firmly took the wind out of the Bears sails and put up 3 unanswered goals. The Bears however kept fighting to the very end and had chances of their own to get on the scoresheet before time ran out.
Hernando Leopards move to a 5-5-1 record on the season as they too succumbed to Citrus (2-0) and Lecanto (6-2) which left Wednesday night’s visit of Weeki Wachee as their lone high spot for the week. A 5-3 victory over the Hornets allowed them the opportunity to smile either side of those defeats.
It is the Leopards and Bears who face off against each other in the coming week.
Coach Mainella’s Hornets meanwhile were unable to get in the win column on the week as Lecanto and Nature Coast firmly stopped them in their wake both recording 8-0 victories.
Springstead Eagles only played two games on the week against Crystal River and Nature Coast, both of those ending in defeat which leaves Sarah Bell with work to do on a 2-6-2 record.
Meanwhile the Shark Tank is still firmly rocking after they moved on to a 12-0 season and took their current state ranking to the heights of 28. Brandon Chitwood (27-12-4) has his players firmly singing the same Christmas tunes as they comfortabley took care of the Hornets (8-0), Citrus (6-1) and Springstead (3-0) to leave them not only with a 100% win record but also having conceded just 2 goals during the opening 12 games of the campaign.
The boys team over at Nature Coast are firmly in the shadow of the girls team with a 9-1-1 season and current state rank of 81, however it is Sal Calabrese’s players who also recorded a successful 3 win week as they came away from home games against Citrus (4-2), Springstead (3-1) and an in county visit to Hernando (5-0). The Sharks last took on the Leopards in the 2018-19 District Semi Final and came out 3-1 victors on the day, but this time they dominated play with goals from Owen King (2), Drew Kelly, Bobby Crawford and Tony Howard going unanswered.
The Leopards meanwhile dropped down the rankings after successive defeats against Weeki Wachee (3-1), Citrus (6-1) and the aforementioned visit of the Sharks.
The Hornets, still reeling from their only defeat of the season against Nature Coast bounced back to winning ways to see of the Leopards (3-1) before hitching a ride on the school bus to Lecanto and travelling home happy on Friday night as Seth Tarbox found the back of the net twice to secure a 2-0 victory.
Peyton Burns, in her first season as head coach at Springstead moved quietly to a 4-3-3 record after securing two wins against Central (7-0) and Crystal River (3-1). It wasn’t to be a 3-0 week for them however as the Nature Coast Sharks dealt them a defeat under the Friday night lights.
New Head Coach Micah Kahler moved to a 3-7 record on the season over at Hernando Christian Academy as his Lions secured back to back wins against Lakeside Christian (7-1) and Pepin Academy (6-1).