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Leopards dominate from start to finish

Hernando never lets Williston get an edge in sweeping the Devils 25-13, 25-16, 25-18.

Published October 29, 2004

BROOKSVILLE - After having what they felt was a poorly played district final last week, this match was just what the Hernando Leopards needed.

Despite being the more dominant team from the start, the Leopards never got lazy and played aggressively throughout their 25-13, 25-16, 25-18 region quarterfinal against Williston.

Other than a handful of service errors, few mistakes were made by Hernando, while the Devils looked listless at times.

"I knew Williston was the underdog team coming in," Hernando coach Dena Frye said. "They had an hour-and-a-half bus ride, and we had more height and power."

Frye was hoping the Leopards would show more of a spark after last week's slump, in which the Leopards beat Nature Coast Tech but didn't win as handily as they thought they should.

While the Leopards did a solid job attacking and controlling the ball, the Devils didn't help themselves by hitting good balls into the net 13 times and allowing too many gaps on defense.

Hernando was led by senior Jillian Matherly's 11 kills, and Danielle Coopman added seven. Senior setter Brittni Murphy had nine digs.

On the final points of the last game, Frye took out her starters and let the bench play out the victory. Senior Shauna Allen leaped in the air, beaming after she hit the last point.

"I feel like we really stepped up after districts," Murphy said. "This was much better."

The Devils, who played a five-game match against rival Cross City Dixie County in last week's district final, seemed stunned that they didn't play better in the hour-long match.

"I don't know what happened," Williston sophomore Nellie Gladwell said.

"We acted like we were scared."

"I guess we were still in shock after Dixie County," Williston coach Shereka Jackson said. "Tonight was just ... I don't know. We beat ourselves. Our errors gave Hernando the edge."

Junior Ashley Wilson led the Devils with seven kills, and Senior Chancie Jackson had five kills. Gladwell led the defense with six digs.

Next week, Hernando hosts the region semifinal against Bishop Moore, which defeated Melbourne Central Catholic.

[Last modified October 28, 2004, 23:50:16]


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