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.
Tampa Prep shows fighting spirit
TAMPA — Two weeks ago, Tampa Prep might have all but thrown in the towel if it found itself trailing late in a game. Andrew Wilson's Terrapins have always had the talent, he assures, but they haven't always had the confidence to come from behind to close the deal.
In a match undefeated Carrollwood Day — which the Terrapins won 25-12, 17-15, 25-22 — Wilson saw his team's changed attitude in the very way it hit the ball.
After winning the first two games with relative ease, the Terrapins (7-9, 2-0) fell behind early in the third as the visiting Patriots (10-1, 3-1) scored nine of the first 11 points. But with several big swings — including three aces from middle hitter Kamryn Beach — Tampa Prep rallied to tie the score at 19 on its way to a narrow victory in the final game.
"I've always said, you swing to win games, you don't tip to win," Wilson said. "If you're tipping or rolling because you're afraid to make a mistake, you're not going to win."
Outside hitter Corey Perkins, who led her team in two big wins last week with a total of 32 kills, had five kills in the comeback game. She and outside hitter Alana Nelson led the Terrapins with 10 kills apiece.
Putting the match to bed in the third game and extending Tampa Prep's winning streak to three matches was the motivation behind Perkins' third-game outburst. But the junior couldn't deny the adrenaline from Thursday's win against Berkeley Prep was still running through her veins.
"We're still definitely very hyped about that," Perkins said.
Kelly Parsons, Times staff writer