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LOL fights to stay unbeaten in district
By DAVID MURPHY
Published October 3, 2007
NEW PORT RICHEY - Having faced Ridgewood once already, Land O'Lakes was well aware of the challenge awaiting it in its Class 5A, District 7 match Tuesday night. Still, the Gators took a game to find their stride, and even then were forced to battle to stay undefeated in both the district and the Sunshine Athletic Conference.
"I was worried the whole match," Land O'Lakes coach Michelle Griffin said after her team rebounded from a loss in the first game to post a 19-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-17 victory over Ridgewood.
Though the Gators beat the Rams in three games when the teams met earlier this season, they came away impressed with Ridgewood's scrappiness, particularly on the defensive end of the court.
Tuesday night brought more of the same as Ridgewood battled for every point, absorbing countless blows from the Gators' triumvirate of talented hitters and dishing out several of their own.
Outside hitter Aleesa Williamson had five kills in the first game as Ridgewood (6-6) cruised to a 25-19 victory. Williamson had two more kills early in the second game as the Rams raced out to a 13-8 lead.
That's when Kayli Keough took over. The Land O'Lakes senior finished the second game with seven kills and two blocks, scoring four consecutive points during one stretch as the Gators (13-5) posted a 25-19 win.
Ridgewood rallied late in the third game, but Land O'Lakes eked out a 25-23 win, then cruised in the finale.
"We had our chance," Ridgewood coach Amber Starkey, who attributed the loss to 17 service errors.
Land O'Lakes plays Gulf tonight before facing River Ridge in a 5A-7 showdown Thursday.
"I know they're coming for us," Gators senior Danielle Priest said of the Royal Knights, whose only county loss of the season came against LOL in the season opener.