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Leopards sweep Eagles


© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 5, 2001

SPRING HILL -- Tuesday's Hernando-Springstead match was a lot like the men's tennis you'll see at the U.S. Open this week: plenty of points won and lost on serves.

That is bad if you like long, drawn-out rallies but good if you are serving as well as the Leopards, who drilled 14 service winners in a 15-10, 15-9 victory. "That's a whole game right there," said Hernando coach Dena Frye, whose team rebounded from a loss to Williston on Thursday. "I think this brings my girls back where they should be."

Springstead didn't get the ball back over the net on 16 of Hernando's first 24 points. Kristi Brown led the way with a game-high seven service winners.

Brown's spike was blocked by Springstead's Katie Hallberg early in the second game. But she got revenge with a stretch of three winners in a five-point swing that took Hernando (2-1) from a 6-5 deficit to a 10-6 lead.

"Kristi was hot on her serves tonight," Frye said. "She'd been struggling before, and she has a real powerful serve. But because of that, it's not always this consistent."

Brown got all 15 or her serves in, and after a shaky opening game, her teammates found the same accuracy. After five service errors in the first game, Hernando didn't misfire in the second, needing only half a rotation to close out the Eagles.

With all of the points won on serves, the teams combined for only 10 kills, led by Hernando's Caitlin Sears, who had three. Springstead (0-4) struggled with its serve early, missing on four of its first 10. "We went a whole rotation and had (four) points," coach Steve Davey said.

"You can't win when you're going through a rotation and can't get the ball over the net."

Hernando, leading 12-9 in the second, got a late boost when Davey was assessed a delay of game penalty for requesting a timeout he didn't have.

The call negated a sideout that had shifted momentum to Springstead. Instead, Jackie Matherly served Hernando's final two points. The Leopards have a tougher test tonight in hosting Lecanto. Springstead seeks its first win at Pasco tonight before returning home to play Lecanto on Thursday.

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