The Panthers take early leads and defeat the Warriors in two close games.
By CAREY FREEMAN
© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 11, 2001
LECANTO -- Chalk one up for the counterpunchers.
In a matchup of contrasting styles, it was the finesse of Lecanto that prevailed 16-14, 15-11 over the power of Seven Rivers Christian in the first meeting between the Citrus County schools.
Yet while their game is predicated on superb court coverage, defense and passing, the Panthers (5-1) were not devoid of power either.
Trailing by one point in the second game, Lecanto turned to hitter/blocker Jill Bandhauer And the senior delivered with four kills and one block.
"They definitely had their moments when they were blocking us," said Bandhauer, who led Lecanto with eight kills and two blocks.
"I just put all my heart into (those points). I'd had some down games, and I was going to let it all out in that game."
Lecanto looked to make a rout of it early, sprinting to a 9-1 lead in Game 1 behind the pinpoint serving of Kylene Colasanti, two blocks from Heather Pontius and kills from Shannon McConnell and Kacie Henderson.
Seven Rivers, however, pulled to within 10-9 with six consecutive points behind the serve of Alice Zeiss and the front-line work of Danielle Albury, who led the Warriors with seven kills and a game-high five blocks.
The Warriors (6-2) then charged to a 14-10 lead with five consecutive points off the serve of Amy Cortese.
But Lecanto and Bandhauer re-asserted themselves. Bandhauer tied the game at 14 with a thundering kill, and the Panthers took the lead for good when Seven Rivers could not return a serve by Amanda Whitelaw.
Bandhauer gave Lecanto its final sideout with her third kill, and Mandy Wade finished it off with a block.
Lecanto also took an early lead in Game 2 only to have the Warriors pound their way back into contention.
Trailing 8-4, Seven Rivers slowly inched its way back then took an 11-9 lead with five consecutive points off the serve of Wendy Heaton.
However, the Panthers closed out the game by winning the next six points.
Bandhauer tied the game then gave Lecanto the lead for good with consecutive kills. She then scored a block to force a sideout and got two kills to end the match.