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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
EAST LAKE - After visiting Clearwater swept East Lake on Wednesday, Eagles coach Terry Small, a mild-mannered man, gathered his team in the locker room for 15 minutes and let them have it.
Really let them have it.
"It was horrible," senior Lindsey Opperman said. "I can't even repeat most of what was said."
Whatever the crux of the speech, it apparently hit home.
East Lake rebounded with a resounding 25-21, 25-16, 22-25, 25-16 win against Countryside on Thursday.
"I don't mind losing," said Small, who earned his 201st career victory.
"But we weren't even going through the motions (Wednesday). It was worse than that. But with the way we bounced back, it shows what type of character this team has."
Small knew even before the Eagles (14-7) took the court that Thursday's match would be different than the previous night.
"When we were warming up and in the huddle you could tell there was a powerful energy going in within the team," he said. "Wednesday was a reality check for this team."
Opperman and Sara Rex recorded 27 and 21 kills, respectively. With match point waiting on deck, Opperman blasted a spike from the left flank for the win.
"I wanted that one bad," said Opperman, who has been limited in practice after injuring her swinging shoulder three weeks ago.
"We just came out with a lot of intensity because we didn't want another performance like Wednesday."
Opperman also recorded 15 digs while Rex had 23 and added three blocks. Countryside, winners of six straight coming into Thursday, has a chance to rebound against a quality opponent as the Cougars (15-2) host Clearwater on Tuesday.
"Not much went right (Thursday)," Countryside coach Kaylyn Bailey said. "It's disappointing because we're a better team than what we showed."