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With plenty of fans, Countryside volleyball sweeps host PHU
By BRANDON WRIGHT, Times Staff Writer
Published September 28, 2007
PALMHARBOR - Countryside's students showed up in full force to Palm Harbor's gym Thursday, taking up one whole section of the stands. They stood for the entire match, stomped their feet and made just a little bit more noise than the PHU students.
And on the court, the Cougars were just a little bit better, too.
Madison Truluck finished with a match-high 14 kills and Countryside swept PHU in three tight games, 25-23, 25-23 and 25-21.
"The girls came in here with something to prove," Countryside coach Kaylyn Bayly said. "They weren't scared or intimidated because Palm Harbor beat Clearwater, they just all showed up tonight."
And Truluck was front and center, giving the taller Hurricanes frontline fits all night. But the junior outside hitter, one of the fiercest hitters in the county, didn't strictly rely on her power game.
"In club I play outside and tip a lot, and when I first got to high school, I thought, 'Wow, I can finally just start banging balls,'" Truluck said. "But I'm 5 foot 9, so that wasn't going to fly. I had to learn to pick my spots."
Countryside got a strong match from middle blocker Mercedez Wilgus. The junior first-year varsity player had seven kills and a pair of blocks.
"The girl can just jump out of the gym," Bayly said. "She made huge strides from last year to this year but even more so from the beginning of the season to now. For her, it's now just a matter of working on the little things."
Countryside's Davi DiSalvatore's kill tied it at 21 in Game 1 before three straight PHU errors led to a 24-21 cushion. The Hurricanes rallied for a pair of consecutive points, but Wilgus split a pair of blockers to close out the game.
The first game featured six ties and gave a glimpse of the tight match to follow - neither team lead by more than four points in any game all night except for a briefs stretch in Game 2 when PHU trailed by six.
"Our effort was there," PHU coach Tara Kuk said. "They were all just close ones that we came up short in."
PHU's Mallory Kiley had 10 kills and three blocks, while Rachael Jelnicky recorded eight kills, a block and an ace.
After the match, the Cougars' student section rushed the court, formed a circle with the team and joined in a dance.
"That was probably the most insane match I've ever played in," Truluck said. "Our fans are the best. They showed up and got so into it tonight."
- Indian Rocks Christian d. Northside Christian 25-16, 25-22, 25-23
Before a standing-room only crowd, the Eagles remained unbeaten with a three-game sweep of the host Mustangs.
"There was well over 500 people in there," IRC coach Mark Foster. "They were gunning for us."
The Eagles hadn't played a match since Sept. 20 when they beat Tampa Prep.
"There was so much time off in between," he said. "We were a little rusty, but we got through it."
Brianne Yeates led the way for IRC with 12 kills and a pair of aces. Teammates Liz Zeitler (25 digs) and Jessica Jones (14) paced the eagles defensively.
- East Lake 193, Clearwater 236, Countryside 239, Osceola 260
Whitney Wenglasz fired a match-low 193 at Clearwater Country Club.
- East Lake 150, PHU 167
The Eagles' Nick Buccina shot a sizzling 33 at Wentworth to help East lake improve to 15-4. PHU fell to 9-3. Teammates Logan Hand (38) and Terry O'Reilly (39) shot under 40, while PHU's Zach Sobel finishing at 39.
- Calvary Christian 152, St. Petersburg Catholic 158
At the Bayou Club, Aaron Watson, Mike Baskovich and Taylor Hancock all carded 37 to help the Warriors (13-2) edge out SPC. Devin Hernandez shot 37 for the Barons.
- Oldsmar Christian 190, Cambridge 218
Nate Rivera and Jacob Peters finished with the low round of the day at 45 to lead Oldsmar Christian (7-0-1) at East Lake Woodlands.