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Hernando rallies to get past Crystal River in three


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 3, 2000

CRYSTAL RIVER -- It wasn't so much the serve of Alison Kratt that gave Crystal River fits in the second and third games Monday, it's what happened for Hernando when their setter was at the line.

That is, when Kratt was at the line and Chrissy Hartley was at the net. And good things always seemed to happen for the Leopards when the athletic Hartley was controling the front line. Hernando trailed in the final game but battled back for a 10-15, 15-3, 15-8 win over the vastly improved Pirates.

"Crystal River is a good team, but we have a match at Lecanto (today), and I think we may have been looking past this team," Leopards coach Dana Frye said. "We weren't able to practice Friday, so we had a three-day weekend, and the girls came out kind of sluggish."

Crystal River (6-10), which had won three in a row entering the match, took full advantage of that sluggishness as it scrambled, battled and defended its way to the win in Game 1. Though the Pirates could not match the size of the Leopards (13-1), they more than made up for it with scrappy defense and solid serving. This was especially true when Lisandra Vasquez and Melissa Coburn were at the line, with the Pirates scoring 11 points off their serves, including the final four by Coburn.

"We're definitely getting better, and we're definitely making improvements," Crystal River coach Trudee Foltz said. "We started the season slow, but we're finally coming together as a team. We're moving better and showing better communication, and it's starting to show."

But the Pirates could only prolong the inevitable so long against the ninth-ranked Leopards, who blasted their way to an easy win in Game 2. The combination of Kratt and Hartley proved to be the killer in Game 2 as the two led Hernando to five consecutive points midway through the game.

Crystal River took an early advantage in the final game but was unable to hold off the hard-charging Leopards, who battled back behind the front-line dominance of Hartley and Bernice Mosby, who finished with a match-high nine kills to go along with one block.

Trailing 9-8, Hernando pulled away with four consecutive points off the serve of Jacklyn Matherly then put the match away with the last of Hartley's match-high four blocks.

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