tampabay.com

Time off aids Knights

Who needs constant action if River Ridge can pull off sweeps of foes like Land O'Lakes.

By MIKE TOMPKINS
Published October 5, 2006


NEW PORT RICHEY- Evidently, practice makes perfect. Well, maybe not perfect, but pretty darn good.

That's the impression River Ridge left after its solid 25-14, 25-20, 25-11 victory over Land O'Lakes on Wednesday at the Royal Knights' gym. River Ridge, coming off of a stretch in which it had only participated in two games in the past two weeks, played with uncharacteristic poise for a team that features just one senior.

"We played real good offensively," River Ridge coach Heidi Castelamare said. "As well as defensively. We had very few hitting errors. Brittany Frey did a great job, as well as Emily (Lehman). But honestly, this was a total team effort.

"I don't think there was anybody who had a real bad game. Everybody was right up there."

River Ridge (16-1 overall, 8-0 in Class 5A, District 5) sandwiched two easy victories around a difficult second game.

After the Royal Knights jumped to an early 3-0 lead, the Gators (11-7, 5-3) battled back to tie it at 4, 5 and 8 each before finally taking the lead 10-8 on a block by Kayli Keough.

Numerous hitting errors from both teams kept the game tight, with Land O'Lakes' lead eventually reaching 19-14 following a block by Danielle Priest.

But after a side-out, Lehman reeled off nine consecutive service points, including four aces, to pull River Ridge ahead.

Lehman finished with a game-high 10 service points and six kills. Frey added nine service points and a game-high seven kills, including five in the decisive third game.

"During the time off, at least game-wise, we've tried to work a little bit more on our consistency," Castelamare said. "And some defensive stuff we've been working on. We've got a big tournament this weekend.

"My goal is to get us better for districts."

Keough led the Gators with six kills.