After last season, then-sophomore Carly Reiner was looking to solidify her summer plans. While other kids were focusing on leisurely days at the beach or a summer job, Reiner had a plan. The outside midfielder and track runner approached Tampa Prep soccer coach Cindy Schofield and asked, "Who is playing keeper next year?"
Reiner had brief time in goal last season because of injuries during the team's run to the state semifinals, but she wanted the role permanently. Schofield said Reiner committed to becoming a reliable goalie, even joining the youth club team Fusion FC of Tampa to learn the specifics of the position.
"She's been a field player her whole life but last year because of injuries we had to use her in goal a few times," Schofield said. "I guess she really loved it and this summer she joined a club team to learn to play keeper and she has just taken to it."
Reiner has posted five shutouts for the 7-0-2 Terrapins, recording 29 saves.
Locals compete at national tournament
Tampa Prep senior, career leading scorer and Louisiana State-commit Colby Maffei and Freedom keeper and South Carolina-commit Emily Ball represented the 1994 Girls southeast (Region III) team competing in last week's U.S. Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program Fall Interregional tournament in Boca Raton. The Region III team went 1-1-1 in the Nov. 20-24 tournament.
Maffei has 135 goals for Tampa Prep, including 19 through the Terrapins' first nine matches this season, and has been named to The Tampa Tribune's All-Hillsborough County first team her first three seasons.
Ball had a tremendous end of the season last year in goal for the Patriots, including helping Freedom to a district title and earning first-team All-Hillsborough County honors from the Tribune. Ball followed her high school season with a busy summer, including playing in goal for the Tampa Bay Hellenic in the semi-pro Women's Premier Soccer League. The Hellenic won the Sunshine Division and reached the final four of the 62-team league.
Newsome freshman Karli Gutsche played for the 1996 Girls Region III team in Boca Raton. The team finished 0-3 in the tournament.
Final four reloaded
The two Hillsborough County teams that made it to last year's Class 5A boys final four — Gaither and Durant — lost key players to graduation, but neither has lost its chances of staying in this year's playoff hunt.
Gaither (5-1) appears to be off to a stronger start than Durant (2-2), but then again the same could be said of last year when Gaither started 5-0 and Durant started 1-2. And let's not forget: Durant later defeated Gaither, 3-2, in the state semifinals.
"I'm still working on the lineup just like I did last year," Durant coach Jamin Hollingsworth said. "I never seem to get the lineup right at the beginning of the season. But we'll get there."
Leading the way is Jacob Brumbeloe, who has two hat tricks, along with Ben Eisenhauer, the tough brother of hard-nosed David Eisenhauer, who was one of those who graduated.
At Gaither, meantime, things got a lot more optimistic when Switzerland exchange student Jonas Bukh showed up with speed and skills and promptly scored five goals and had two assists in his first five games.
Add Bukh to strong returners Jacob Snidle, defender Justin Santos, midfielders Jonathan Lopez, Cesar Ticora and Tarek Assaad, forward Paul Barrett and converted-keeper Carlos De Oliveira, who played last year in the field, and the Cowboys were right back in business.
Oh, yes, there also is the addition of talented freshman Jhonathan DaSilva and the impending presence of Gaither football quarterback Alex McGough.
"I think our little ride of flying under the radar is over," Gaither coach Eric Sims said. "I don't think we can hide from anybody any more."
Jarrett Guthrie, Scott Purks