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Citrus pushes the Panthers to five games, winning the first two, before falling 16-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-14 15-10.
By DAWN REISS
Published September 20, 2006
LECANTO -- As Kaylah Hall's final spike rocketed into the air, the Lecanto player hoped it would be enough to win the five-game match Tuesday. "Please go over, please go down," Hall recalled thinking.
It did. The spike plummeted inside Citrus' court, then was promptly bumped by the 'Canes into the stands. With the misfire, Lecanto sealed a 16-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-14 15-10 victory.
"She'll make key plays when she has to," Lecanto coach Freddie Bullock said.
Just like their previous meeting that took five games, neither team would go away.
Only this time it was Lecanto, not Citrus, that had to fight back from a two-game deficit.
"It was harder than before," Lecanto setter Michi Arguedas said. "We made more mistakes, but it's always great to win."
Citrus (3-8) came out strong, helped by Rachel Fults and Jackie White, along with Lecanto's multiple unforced errors. Game 3 started the same, but Lecanto slowly started "finishing off the blocks" to help stop plays. Helped by three Hall aces, Arguedas tips and Teressa Isselhardt blocks, the Panthers (6-2) battled back. Ahead 22-19, Victoria Mele followed up a tip that was blocked back and finished the rally with a spike to bring the Panthers within two. Citrus failed to return a Raina Johnson serve for their next point. On gamepoint, Mele stopped a short rally with a resounding spike to give Lecanto new life.
"I told them it wasn't over until the fat lady sang," Bullock joked. "And I told them I hadn't sung yet."
Citrus then began making unforced errors on missed spikes and out-of-bound hits and struggled to serve receive as Lecanto took control in Game 4. Libero Claire Rosebrough's strong digs helped the Panthers serve receive most points.
Citrus coach Alice Christian said by the end the 'Canes had given up on themselves and "Lecanto just wanted it more."