By KRISTEN LEIGH PORTER
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 20, 2002
LECANTO -- In Lecanto's 13-15, 15-2, 15-2 victory Thursday against Springstead, the Panthers were reminded that volleyball is as much mental as it is physical.
Lecanto's Kacie Henderson had eight kills and two aces, and teammate Stacey Lowe added seven kills and two aces. But it would take a first-game scare for the Panthers to regain their focus.
"I'm actually glad we lost, it put my head in the game," Henderson said, no doubt echoing her teammates' sentiments.
Lecanto (6-2, 2-1 district) looked out of synch coming off a tough loss Wednesday to Hernando. Winless Springstead took advantage, winning its first game this season.
Tied at 3-3, Lecanto seemed to take control and rang off six unanswered points. But hitting errors by the Panthers let the Eagles back in the game. A kill by Springstead's Cara Gagen made it 13-13, and back-to-back hitting errors by Lecanto gave the Eagles the game.
Panthers coach Karen Dickson said her team's mistakes were mental.
"We made 23 hitting errors (Wednesday) night and 11 in the first game (Thursday)," Dickson said. "I think that got them angry and they don't like playing bad with a crowd."
The Panthers had just seven hitting errors the rest of the match.
Lecanto looked fired up after switching sides, and Amanda Whitelaw began the game with an ace.
The Panthers reached double digits at 10-0 with an emphatic kill by Henderson, and it took a net violation by Lecanto to give Springstead its first point at 12-1. The game ended the same as it began, except this time it was Lecanto's Megs Brown ringing up the ace on game point to send the match to a deciding third game.
Whitelaw opened up the third game with an ace as the Panthers rolled.
Heather Pontius had four kills and four aces in the match, and Whitelaw and Brown also had four aces apiece. The Panthers finished with 20 aces.
Eagles coach Steve Davey said his team was frequently out of position. Springstead (0-6) has just five returning players from last season.
"Our weak area is receiving on serves and we have given too many points away as a result," Davey said.
"They showed potential in the first game and I'm proud of them for that."
Diana Lossing had two aces and Laura Jasen had two kills for the Eagles.
Springstead plays at Pasco on Tuesday. Lecanto hosts Central Tuesday.