ZEPHYRHILLS — Last year, Nature Coast lost a chance to win a district title and start the Class 4A playoffs at home, with its season ending in straight sets at Orlando Bishop Moore.
The Sharks didn't repeat last year's misfortune, claiming the 4A-8 title by sweeping host Zephyrhills 25-14, 25-12, 25-23 on Thursday.
"It is very satisfying," Nature Coast coach Dan Murphy said.
"But it will be even more satisfying when we win our next game. We will go past that first round. We want to go to Lakeland."
Nature Coast (20-8) saved its best tournament performance for last, taking the first two sets with ease. In the final game, Zephyrhills (19-5) battled the Sharks point for point. The Bulldogs closed the gap to 23-22, but Sharks senior outside hitter Alex Livengood notched the final two kills to seal the win and title for Nature Coast.
"We expended a lot of energy (Wednesday) night, but I think my girls were ready tonight," Zephyrhills coach Dan Muir said.
Nature Coast received standout performances from Livengood (20 kills), Courtney Liddle (seven aces, 13 kills) and Rachel Powell (31 assists).
Nature Coast will host 4A-7 runnerup Ridgewood in regionals Wednesday and Zephyrhills will travel to 4A-7 champion Hudson.
"They are the team to beat in the county, but we will be ready to play Wednesday night," Muir said of Hudson.