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Countryside wary of upset


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 29, 2000

Countryside coach Kaylyn Bayly said she figured her team would probably be playing another county opponent in Tuesday's regional quarterfinal.

But she decided to watch the Class 5A, District 9 semifinals anyway just in case the unexpected happened.

It did.

Palm Harbor University and East Lake, favorites in their matches against Ridgewood and River Ridge, respectively, lost. Instead of an all-Pinellas County final, it turned out to be an all-Pasco County one.

Besides being able to scout her next opponent, Bayly also got a motivational tool she used all week. Countryside, despite having a 26-3 record and a No. 3 ranking in the Class 5A state poll, can be beaten any time.

"Upsets happen, and watching that helped out a lot," Bayly said. "We have a tendency to not start real fast, and we have to guard against going through the motions."

The Cougars started playing with enthusiasm in their two-game win over Seminole for their first district title since 1995. Now they must keep up the intensity against Ridgewood. "They're big, and they block well," Bayly said of the Rams. "That's probably the biggest problem we face against them.

"For us, I think the players now realize how far they can go and what they're capable of doing. But I did mention the upset theme quite often this week. From here on out, there is no second chance. You have to play your best."

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