Mustangs aim to topple a titan
By JOHN C. COTEY and DEREK LaRIVIERE
Published October 5, 2006
[Times photo: Brian Cassella]
Senior Heather Zappacosta is sure Mitchell can best Countryside tonight. "I think everyone feels a lot more confident this time."
Tonight's match at Countryside won't be for the district's No. 1 seed, but it may be for something bigger for Mitchell: The knowledge that it can beat the Cougars.
The teams meet for the second time this season, after Countryside won the first in four games. A third meeting is a possibility, in the district tournament, final but going into that potential match with two losses hanging on them would not be a good thing.
"Personally ...I would feel more confident going in knowing we can beat them," senior outside hitter Heather Zappacosta said.
But don't mistake Zappacosta's words for doubt. In fact, she thinks the Mustangs can beat Countryside ...tonight.
"Last time I think we didn't really know what to do blocking-wise, and we were kind of waiting to see what they did," she said. "That didn't work. I think everyone feels a lot more confident this time."
The Cougars are coming off losses to Pinellas County rivals East Lake and Clearwater, the latter a five-set heartbreaker Tuesday. With the No. 1 seed all but sewn up, it might be the perfect time to catch the Cougars napping.
ALL FOR ONE: Mitchell will have Senior Night Wednesday when it meets Hudson for the Sunshine Athletic Conference title. Provided neither team drops an SAC match to someone else, a Mitchell wins gives the Mustangs the title. A Hudson win means River Ridge can force a three-way tie the next night when it travels to Hudson.
PIRATES ROLLING: Pasco entered Wednesday night's match against Wiregrass with a three-game win streak and as winners of five of their past six matches.
Now at 9-8, the Pirates may be gaining a little traction as they tune up for the district playoffs.
"We're not doing too bad," coach Ramiro Tejada said. "Hopefully we can keep it going."
Pasco has its final district match against Hernando on Thursday, a tournament at Sarasota Booker this weekend and a meeting with county power Mitchell next week.
Tejada is pleased his regulars, led by Megan Barthle and Jenny Peters, have been fortified by improved freshman Lacy Cook. Tejada said her best match was her last one, a win over Springstead, and she is filling a critical hole in a lineup lacking a steady stream of consistent hitters.
BOOK IT: Pasco, Ridgewood and Zephyrhills travel to the Sarasota Booker tournament this weekend. Zephyrhills is a late addition, getting in Tuesday when another team dropped out. Bulldog coach Tiffany Bibby had said all season her goal was to get her team into a competitive tournament.
LIGHT, MEET TUNNEL: Ann Marvin's rebuilding job continues at Wesley Chapel, with more andmore bright spots as the weeks wear on. While her team dropped to 1-10 with a loss to Central on Tuesday night, it showed some fight by winning the third game.
Marvin said she thought it was the first time her team played through adversity and shows they are coming together.
"We've come over a lot of ups and downs this season," Marvin said. "We found out where we were as a team (Tuesday). We kept playing hard even after going down two games. I really expect huge things from this program down the road."
The Wildcats were led senior Michelle Isaacs. After the Wildcats were down two games, they started off the third on an 11-0 run while Issacs was on serve (including seven aces). They won that game 25-8. In the fourth game, Wesley Chapel fell behind 14-3, but when Isaacs took serve, they went on a 9-0 run.
Issacs had 10 aces overall and was second on the team in kills for the evening with eight.
Junior Jordan Hendrix was vital around the net as a hitter for Wesley Chapel, leading the team in kills with nine.
When asked about the third-game performance, Marvin said: "I really believe we've had that in us the whole season. These girls have never really played together before and it took some time for them to come together on the court. It's just a shame it's happening so late in the season."
[Last modified October 5, 2006, 08:05:21]
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