Liam Bramley, soph., Lakewood Ranch
To his credit: Without solid goalkeeping, the Mustangs' march to the final four might have been in jeopardy. But Ranch possessed Bramley, who was much calmer under pressure than a normal sophomore. He went 9-4-4 in goal, but the numbers are misleading. Even in the Mustangs' final game of the year, a 3-0 defeat to eventual Class 4A state champion Melbourne, Bramley made several top-notch saves. He tallied 12.
Felipe Dangond, soph., Lakewood Ranch
To his credit: Dangond was an instrumental force in the midfield for the Mustangs. Ranch enjoyed using Sollazzo as a sole striker, and Dangond benefited from that formation to the tune of 13 goals and five assists. His engine in the middle of the park provided the blueprint to the Mustangs' first final four berth.
Ben Espinal, soph., Palmetto
To his credit: With all the offensive firepower Palmetto possessed this past season, it's easy to overlook the defensive effort. At the forefront of holding the fort down was Espinal, who used a ferocious pace to move up the pitch and track back to provide cover when necessary. Very few could get past Espinal. And it's a big reason why the Tigers dominated most opponents.
Jeremy Jackman, sr., Saint Stephen's
To his credit: Jackman's role with the Falcons was a hybrid this season. He maneuvered between the midfield, where he flourished in the past, and up front as a forward. The results were 23 goals and 36 assists.
Matthew Jones, sr., Saint Stephen's
To his credit: Jones marshaled the Falcons from the center of the park and racked up impressive stats along the way. The center midfielder bagged 28 goals, which is quite lofty considering his position on the pitch. He also contributed 21 assists, making him a well-rounded playmaker in leading the Falcons to a deep playoff run.
Tyler Lawrence, sr., Palmetto
To his credit: Playing out wide for the Tigers, Lawrence delivered 20 assists and managed to find the net himself 11 times. Palmetto's season ended short of where the Tigers wanted in the region semifinal, but Palmetto demonstrated success throughout its campaign due to Lawrence's ability to provide threatening runs down the wing.
Javis Paniagua, sr., Palmetto
To his credit: Every successful team needs a playmaker, and Paniagua was that player for Palmetto. Paniagua dictated the flow that was Palmetto's style, often beating defenders with his dribbling skills before locking onto All-Area Player of the Year Gregorio Calvillo or dishing out wide to fellow first-teamer Tyler Lawrence. He also had the skill to score off free kicks with bending balls, a luxury not every club has at its disposal.
Nick Pennebacker, jr., Manatee
To his credit: On a young team, the Hurricanes leaned on Pennebacker to dictate things in the midfield. While not garnering the flair associated with dynamic midfield playmakers, Pennebacker operated as a center defensive midfielder. His grunt work paid off with head coach Colby West referring to him as the "rock in the middle" and "catalyst" for the club. Controlling the midfield allowed Pennebacker to succeed in a year that didn't end with any hardware for the Canes.
Reese Riggins, soph., Lakewood Ranch
To his credit: Riggins' imposing stature on defense quieted opposing forwards and gave the Mustangs a shot in the arm on set pieces. When attacking, Riggins found himself as a key player off free kicks and corners -- totaling 10 goals and five assists. Not too shabby for a defender, a position usually designed to keep opponents out rather than rack up goals and assists.
Ryan Sollazzo, sr., Lakewood Ranch
To his credit: As the Mustangs' chief scoring option, Sollazzo's tally -- 13 goals and 10 assists -- doesn't seem worthy at first glance. But dig deeper and it's easy to recognize why he's an all-area selection. The senior does most of his damage off the ball with his high work rate and after recovering from an early-season injury, he led the Mustangs on an improbable Class 4A state semifinal run.
Jorge Zavala, sr., Saint Stephen's
To his credit: With teammates Jones and Jackman dishing out punishing blows to the opposition in the center of the pitch, Zavala mostly did his work on the wing. While not amassing the numbers of the other two Falcons to be named first-teamers, Zavala still racked up an impressive 19 goals and 15 assists in aiding Saint Stephen's march to the Class 1A final four berth.
Manatee -- Travis Dye, jr.
Palmetto -- Franky Arroyo, frosh.; Usiel Martinez, sr.; Raul Loera, jr.; Hunter Brown, sr.; Abel Dubon, soph.
Lakewood Ranch -- Bobby Photos, sr.; Lane Todoroff, sr.; Jake Dube, jr.; Martin Martinez, sr.
Saint Stephen's -- Jonathan Boyd, frosh.; Alex Virgilio, frosh.; JJ Byrnes, sr.
-- There was no photo available for Reese Riggins of Lakewood Ranch
-- Capsules by Jason Dill, Herald sports writer