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Prose and Kohn

Your guide to Sarasota's high school soccer playoffs

A handful of local teams have a chance to make postseason runs.

The Riverview High girls soccer team celebrates after defeating Sunlake High 2-1 on the road Jan. 22.
The Riverview High girls soccer team celebrates after defeating Sunlake High 2-1 on the road Jan. 22.
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The high school winter sports postseason has arrived. 

Soccer district tournaments begin this week and continue into next week, with basketball and wrestling not far behind. Below is a look at the boys and girls soccer landscapes as the postseason gets underway, and an attempt to determine which Sarasota teams could make it through districts to the regional state of the playoffs. 

Class 7A District 8: Riverview High and Sarasota High

On the boys' side, Riverview (10-2-3) enters the district tournament as the No. 1 seed. The Rams have won three games in a row — including a 4-0 game over Sarasota (8-4-4) and have allowed just 20 goals to opponents all season while scoring 44 themselves. The clear favorite, Riverview will have a first-round bye before playing either Lakewood Ranch High (10-7) or Venice High (5-8-2) on Jan. 30. 

Do the Sailors, the No. 3 seed, have a chance at an upset run? If they do, they will need their offense to take a step forward. Sarasota averages 2.12 goals per game, though it has scored eight goals over its last two games. The Sailors will play host to No. 6 seed Lehigh High (7-9-2) on Jan. 25 before a potential second-round game against No. 2 seed North Port High (10-3-4). 

Riverview High girls soccer senior Venessa Huynh (15) drills the ball downfield.
Courtesy image

On the girls' side, Riverview (8-4-2) enters the tournament as the No. 3 seed, while Sarasota (5-7-4) is the No. 5 seed. Both teams have lost to No. 1-seeded North Port High (11-2) this season, though the Rams kept it close and lost 1-0 on Nov. 8. 

Beating North Port — and No. 2 seed Lakewood Ranch High (6-2-2), for that matter — will be tough for either team. But Riverview proved it has the necessary chops to pull an upset on Jan. 22, when it handed Sunlake High (18-2) its first home loss of the season. The Rams trailed 1-0 at halftime, but second-half goals from sophomore Olivia Shkorupa and junior Claire Macdonald changed the game. 

Sunlake entered the contest as the No. 24-ranked team in the U.S., according to MaxPreps, and the No. 6 team in Florida. If the Rams can beat Sunlake, they can win the district tournament. Of course, being able to do something and actually doing it are different things. It remains to be seen whether the Rams can conjure some more magic. Their run will begin Jan. 24 with a home game against No. 6 seed Lehigh High (5-12-1). If they win, which they have a strong chance of doing, they will play Lakewood Ranch on the road Jan. 29. 

Sarasota will play No. 4 seed Venice High (4-11-3) on the road Jan. 24, then potentially face North Port on Jan. 29.  

Both the boys' and girls' district championship games will be on Feb. 1 at the higher seed's home field.

Class 4A District 11: Booker High

After years of middling play, the Tornadoes boys team started to turn things around in 2022-2023, finishing with an 8-6-2 record. The program took another step forward this season, as Booker ended the regular season 10-3-5 and the No. 1 seed in its district. 

Booker will have a first-round bye before hosting either Boca Ciega High (1-9-2) or Lakewood High (2-13-0) in the second round Jan. 26. The biggest threat to the Tornadoes' district crown is No. 2 seed Robinson High (9-8-2); Booker is ranked 29th in the class by MaxPreps, while Robinson is 33rd, and Robinson has a higher strength of schedule. The two teams could potentially meet in the district title game Jan. 31. 

The Tornadoes girls team is 4-8-1 and the No. 5 seed in its tournament. Booker will play No. 4 seed Bayshore High (1-12-1) on the road Jan. 24 before a potential second-round road game against No. 1 seed Robinson High (10-6-1) on Jan. 29. 

Class 3A District 8: Cardinal Mooney High

On the boys' side, the Cougars are 7-6-1 and enter the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the district behind No. 1 seed Bishop Verot High (8-5-1) and No. 2 seed St. Petersburg Catholic (10-5-0). The luck of the draw is not on Mooney's side in this tournament: Because the district has just five teams, not six, the top three seeds get a first-round bye, and the No. 4 and No. 5 teams play each other. That may sound nice for Mooney, but in the second round on Jan. 26 they will face St. Pete Catholic, not an easy team to beat. 

If they do win, Mooney will likely face rival Bishop Verot in the finals. The Cougars have lost four straight games to the Vikings, including a 4-0 defeat in last season's district tournament. It will not be easy, but the Cougars would love to get revenge for that. A potential district championship game appearance would be Jan. 30 at the higher seed's home field. 

On the girls' side, the Cougars are just 3-6-3 and the No. 4 seed in the tournament. Like the boys, the Cougars are looking up at No. 2 seed St. Pete Catholic (7-4-2) and No. 1 seed Bishop Verot (14-1-1). Assuming Mooney can get past Gateway Charter (1-12-0), the Cougars would meet Bishop Verot in the second round Jan. 26. 

Unlike the boys, the girls have had success in recent meeting with the Vikings and beat them 1-0 in last year's district tournament, so don't count the Cougars out, despite what the team records might imply. Beat the Vikings, and Mooney would be in the Jan. 30 district championship game at the higher seed's home field.  



Ryan Kohn

Ryan Kohn is the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. He was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. His biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. His strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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