LAND O’LAKES — Anclote coach Chris Vergnaud turned to one of his assistants Tuesday as the second game drew to 26-all against Land O’Lakes. It’s mental now, he told her.
“Volleyball’s a momentum game,” Vergnaud said. “It’s all a mental game.”
The Sharks (13-3, 4-1) fought for that momentum against their 5A-8 rival to win 25-12, 28-26, 25-18.
Vergnaud said his team is a contender this year, and he aimed to prove it on the Gators’ court.
“We’ve got a lot of weapons on our team,” he said.
Junior Marissa Niedermeyer led the Sharks with 11 kills. Seniors Aaliyah Anderson and Mia Lockhart each had six kills.
Land O’Lakes (7-6, 2-3) scored the first four points in the first game and stayed ahead until a series of errors tied the score at 10. The Gators didn’t lead again until the second game.
Anclote surged to an early lead in the second game, recording five straight points after the Gators earned the first kill.
With the score tied at 11, Land O’Lakes continued its streak to pull ahead 14-12.
Niedermeyer blocked a kill to tie the score at 24, and the crowd’s volume swelled to drown out the players’ cheers.
Gators senior Tyra Long smacked the ball to the other court and grinned as Land O’Lakes pulled ahead.
The teams clawed to another tie at 26. A well-placed serve from Niedermeyer and kill by Lockhart gave Anclote the two points it needed.
Anclote never gave Land O’Lakes another chance as the Sharks led the entire third game. Long recorded three kills and an ace early, nearly tying the score again. An error ended the streak, and the Sharks earned the next four points.
“I think we proved it tonight, that we can still come out and play aggressive volleyball,” Vergnaud said.