Lecanto finishes strong

Solid hitting, serving give the Panthers a key district win over Citrus.

Published September 16, 2005

LECANTO - With Lecanto ahead by one, Angela Garry boomed over a powerful kill to close out the Panthers' 25-19, 11-25, 25-16, 25-23 victory over Citrus on Thursday night.

"It was more luck that anything," Garry said, who had two consecutive kills to end the night. "After we lost to Crystal River, we really needed this win."

After losing twice to Crystal River earlier this season, it looked as if Citrus (6-3 overall, 1-2 Class 4A, District 6) could edge out Lecanto (4-6, 4-4). Citrus' Rachael Fultz, who had eight kills and two aces for the night, led the charge as the Panthers trailed Citrus for most of Game 1. The Panthers pulled away with the score tied at 19 by capitalizing on four Citrus errors and kills by Audrey Kelly and Crystal Earnest.

Citrus handily took control in Game 2, going on a 14-2 run led by Mary-Ann Massion, who had three kills and three aces.

"We just knew we had to shake it off," said Earnest, who finished with 11 kills.

Lecanto fought back in Game 3. The Panthers took control on the opening point and never relented, utilizing hard hitting and ball placement. With Lecanto ahead 21-16, Annalise Sorvillo served five consecutive times to give the Panthers a 2-1 edge entering Game 4.

By the final game, the evenly matched competitors fought for points with long rallies that had many of the fans on their feet.

The game was tied eight times in the final set, ending at 21. Two Raina Johnson aces put Lecanto ahead 23-21. An Ashley Hoglund kill pulled Citrus within 23-22. A Citrus out-of-bounds call gave Lecanto a 24-23 lead, followed by a Lecanto serve that tipped the net and was called out of bounds before Garry scored the final point.

"We just executed well and hit better than we ever have before," Lecanto coach Freddie Bullock said.

"When you are small like us you can't just pass the ball over, which allows opponents to transition into offense. You have to attack to keep them on the move."