tampabay.com

Pirates too tall of an order

Six-foot volleyball tandem of Hirsch and Worlton stymie Lecanto.

By BRIAN SUMERS
Published August 25, 2006


CRYSTAL RIVER - Long after their match ended, Brandy Worlton met teammate Meghan Hirsch at midcourt and offered both hands.

"Twin towers, right here!" Worlton said with a smile.

The seniors - Crystal River's tallest players - clapped hands and celebrated their three-game sweep of Lecanto on Thursday night. Using their height advantage, Worlton (17 kills) and Hirsch (13) led the Pirates to the easy 25-9, 25-22, 25-22 victory.

"Do we have anybody who is taller than any of their players?" Panthers coach Freddie Bullock asked rhetorically. "They are good. And they are tall."

Worlton is 6 feet 3. Hirsch is 6 feet. Their height helps them play above the net, offering a natural advantage, especially for team morale.

"After a long rally, it feels real good to knock it out of the park," Worlton said.

When Worlton recorded kills on five of eight points late in the second game, the crowd, filled with parents and an unusually high number of students, erupted.

"You couldn't stop cheering," Hirsch said. "We just kept killing it. It's hard to face a 6-3 person at the net."

The Panthers (2-3) could not compete with Crystal River's veteran squad. Though Lecanto avenged its lopsided first-game loss by playing two more closely-contested games, the outcome was never in doubt.

Worlton and Hirsch, working together, assured the win for Crystal River (4-0).

"It really helps me to have Brandy," Hirsch said. "She's my backup. She's my backbone."

Asked if she might intimidate other teams because of her size and fearsome kills, Worlton demurred.

"Maybe," she said. "At points."