No room left for errors
By KRISTEN LEIGH PORTER
It's the time of year when mistakes can mean the premature onset of basketball season.
Serves that floated out of bounds early on must be reined in. Once wayward passes have to be on the mark so the setter can deliver a perfect set. Hitters must put down the ball even if the blocker is taking away their favorite shot.
Whatever happened the past two months does not mean much. It's tournament time, and only champion or runner-up teams will be playing this time next week.
Seven Rivers Christian was the Class A, District 7 bridesmaid last season but has the potential to win more than just the district, as evidenced by its 24-1 record.
Coach Scott Lyons has made no secret that the Warriors are capable of a trip to the state semifinals.
Seven Rivers is led by senior Danielle Albury, who has 385 kills and 281 assists this season. Sophomore Alice Zeiss has chipped in 331 assists and 123 kills.
Among other accomplishments, the Warriors beat Class 4A Central, the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference champ, twice this season. Seven Rivers' district record is 13-0.
Crystal River (12-7) will be going after its second straight Class 3A, District 6 title. After struggling early, the Pirates are on pace to match last season's strong finish.
Coach Trudee Lightbody said her third-seeded team is capable of beating anyone in the bracket if Crystal River plays its game.
"I feel like it's anybody's game in our district," Lightbody said. "We always seem to peak at the end of the regular season and in the tournament."
Lightbody is looking for players such as 6-foot-1 junior Jennifer MacRae (93 kills, 62 blocks) to produce. Seniors Lisandra Vazquez (103 digs, 45 aces) and Alisa Tisdale (110 assists, 34 aces) hope to extend the season another few games.
The county's dark horse for postseason success is Citrus. It struggled early but took all three area opponents to three games and is a dangerous squad in 3A-6.
Senior Brittney Doyle has become one of the county's strongest hitters, and the Hurricanes have other weapons such as senior Alycia LePage and sophomore Ashley Mangrum. Coach Pam Woznicki said opponents have been overlooking her team all season, and she is excited to see what the 'Canes can do this week.
"We're playing really well," Woznicki said. "The girls were disappointed in the whole first part of the season when they didn't believe they could win. Now they know they can win."
Lecanto is 10-9 entering the 4A-7 tournament. Seniors Kacie Henderson, Heather Pontius, Amanda Whitelaw, Lisa Carter, Stacey Lowe and Megs Brown could help make up for it in the postseason.
The Panthers have talent but need to come together to make a run, coach Kathy Allen said.
"It's going to come down to the mental side of the game because they have the skills," Allen said.
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