CRYSTAL RIVER - Tallahassee North Florida Christian just nipped host Crystal River to win the third annual River Classic on Saturday.
Crystal River (12-1) suffered its first loss as North Florida (9-1) beat the Pirates 16-25, 25-19, 15-11 in the final. Crystal River beat Central 25-13, 25-23 in the semis.
Crystal River's Heather Stack hit eight straight service points, five of them aces, as the Pirates won Game 1. Brandy Worlton, the tournament co-MVP, had two kills and two blocks in the game.
Worlton had two kills and a block but the Pirates committed numerous hitting errors in Game 2.
The Pirates made four hitting errors in the final game. North Florida's co-MVP, Kristen Ledlow, had three straight service points as the visitors took the final game 15-11.
Crystal River setter Ashley Clark was named to the all-tournament team with North Florida's Whitney Roberts.
"We played really, really good today," Clark said. "We came together. They were tipping a lot. We were tired."
"We got better all day long," Crystal River coach Briget Boshell said. "Fatigue and emotions played a part. In the end, we lost some steam. In the championship match, we had no runs. We have done that all year long. That hurt us. In the second game, we had seven service errors. We gave away seven points. North Florida has two great middles. ... They had a little more energy than we did."
"The difference was we came into it knowing they were a good team," North Florida coach Lauren Barrow said. "We stepped it up. We had consistent coverage."