HUDSON — While two out-of-area teams battled for the championship at the Fivay Invitational on Saturday, the host Falcons rebounded from a rare loss to win the consolation final with a sweep of Springstead.
Fivay suffered only its third loss in 18 matches this season in dropping a semifinal against Lakeland McKeel Academy, but the resilient Falcons topped the Eagles 25-19, 25-21 for third place in the tournament.
McKeel defeated Lecanto 25-23, 25-21 to win the title.
Springstead (8-5) had been playing at a high level coming into the event, but it lost three times between Friday and Saturday, including twice to Lecanto.
After losing to Lecanto in the semifinals, Springstead coach Noemi Rivera, in her first season at the helm, said her team was lacking energy.
"We were flat," she said, "but when the game is done, we can't worry about it anymore."
Of the Eagles' five losses this year, three have come to the Panthers, a district rival.
Moving on to Fivay was no easier. The Falcons have enjoyed the emergence of multiple hitters on the front row, and that proved to be a tough thing for Springstead to deal with after struggling with communication in earlier losses.
Junior Briannah Nemetz and senior Toni Imbimbo, first and second on the team, respectively, in kills, continued their net assault in the consolation final. Nemetz finished with a match-high 10 kills, including seven in the second game, while Imbimbo added seven. Briannah's twin sister Ashleigh had six kills.
"I saw some good hitting out there, and we're really getting there," Fivay coach Linda McQuade said. "Our hitters have improved a lot in the past two weeks, and we really need that in tournament play."
Springstead's slow starts contributed to the lack of success. In both games, the Eagles were down by a sizable margin midway through. Senior Marisa Welch and junior Jessica Wendelstedt led the way with six kills each. Welch also had an ace.
In other action, Central defeated Sunlake to win the fifth-place match.