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BROOKSVILLE - A different coach did not change the results for Nature Coast Tech.
The Sharks defeated Hernando earlier in the season when Maria Garcia was still coaching. After resigning last week following a loss to Central, assistant coach Aixa Crespo took the reins.
Even with that turmoil, Nature Coast did not skip a beat against the Leopards, sweeping it county rival 25-20, 27-25, 26-24.
While the second game could have gone either way, the real test came in the third game for Nature Coast (7-5, 6-4 Class 4A, District 8). The Leopards (9-6, 6-2), motivated after dropping the first two games, came out on a 7-0 run.
"The girls were really pumped to start that final game," Hernando coach Christy Brown said. "Then, all of sudden, nothing was clicking anymore."
Following a timeout taken by Crespo to regroup her players, a block from Kayla Bailey rallied the Sharks as they closed the gap to 10-7 and they finally took the lead at 20-19.
The Sharks were led by freshman Alexandra Livengood, who jump-served her way to nine aces in the match, and Randi Rapollo. Rapollo, a sophomore, was the top frontline player for Nature Coast, banging home 11 kills. "What I am trying to get across to them is that we are never going to give up," Crespo said. "We need to have a positive attitude on the court at all times."
The win gave the Sharks a 4-2 record since their new coach took over. The Leopards, who have played six games in the span of a week, seemed a little burned out.