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Familiar foes meet for title

By BOB PUTNAM

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 20, 2000


Countryside is playing in the Pinellas County Athletic Conference title match for the first time in school history. But for coach Kaylyn Bayly, the moment is bittersweet.

That's because she plays Lakewood, her alma mater and who she coached for seven seasons. The match, hosted by the Cougars, is at 7 p.m. Saturday.

"It's going to be different. That's for sure," Bayly said. "There's a lot of emotion."

Bayly left the Spartans last year, frustrated by her inability to get a teaching position at the school. Liz Collins, who spent 21 years at Lakewood, including the past eight as athletic director, joined Bayly at Countryside as her assistant.

Bayly coached several Spartan players. In fact, she took some of them to a camp with the Cougars last summer even though she had already accepted the Countryside job.

"I know and talk with the players," she said. "It's hard on both sides. I go and watch their games, and they wave to me."

Bayly coached the Spartans for seven seasons and guided them to six consecutive playoff berths, including five district titles and final four appearances in 1993 and '94. She also was the Times coach of the year in '94.

Bayly played for Collins at Lakewood and was the Times player of the year in '85, leading the Spartans to an 18-5 record.

Then there's Dexter Rogers, a former Lakewood student who was an alternate on the Olympic volleyball team in '96. He has come to Countryside as an assistant.

For Lakewood, there will be other distractions besides facing their former coach. This is Homecoming week, and the dance is held Saturday night. Spartan coach Donna Dicus tried to get the match scheduled for an earlier time or earlier day in the week but couldn't.

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