CCC LIII Previews: Florida FUEL

As a South Carolina football fan, we can safely say that there almost nothing more painful in sports than coming close to success but finding yourself just short once again.

Such was life for Florida FUEL last season. The ladies from Gainesville found themselves either in the Finals or Semifinals of four of the five tournaments that they entered last season yet FUEL failed to advance to Nationals.

However, also having been in that position, we can tell you that few things push you to success more than coming up short. FUEL currently resides in that state of mind, driven by the shortcoming of last season, FUEL is fired up and ready to compete for Nationals this year.

“All our players are one year more experienced,” Senior captain Alisha Stoun wrote us in an e-mail when asked what would help get her team over the hump. “We have added workouts and we’ve got a few especially hungry players who are pushing the others harder.”

Another entity that is pushing FUEL to more and more success this year is the addition of a coach, Carlo Mosca.

“He has high expectations and is determined to help us reach them,” Stoun wrote. “He has added an element of conditioning that we’ve never had before. Anyone who knows FUEL’s play style for the last few years is in for quite a surprise when they see the new ideas Carlo has introduced.”

That extra level of conditioning will further highlight the skills of junior Kate Cobelens, senior Christine Lynch, who have both been to Club Nationals for two straight years, and senior Stacy Lundstedt. Stoun believes that this year’s team is the fastest in FUEL’s history and that speed leads to easy in-cuts for the team. However, those same speedy receivers can get to the endzone in one throw with little trouble.

Florida senior captain Alisha Stoun works a Hodawg mark at last year's AC Regionals.

That same team speed leads to a strong defense that can keep up with almost any team in check man-to-man. However, FUEL has competed at a high level long enough to also have a few strong zone defenses in its pocket.

With a strong team Stoun wrote that FUEL’s goal was as plain as day.

“Wisconsin or bust!” she wrote.

FUEL knows what it takes to make Nationals, as many of the players have been to Club or College Nationals before but Stoun made it clear that these girls knows what it takes.

“(To make it to Nationals) We need to stay healthy, develop our handlers and chemistry among all our players,” Stoun wrote. “We need to turn individual rockstar athletes into one unstoppable, cohesive team.”

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