Dunnellon, which won only one district match in eight tries during the regular season, notched its second Tuesday night with an opening-round 16-14, 16-14 upset of fourth-seeded Crystal River in the Class 2A, District 9 tournament in Bushnell. The Tigers, seeded fifth in the five-team tournament, trailed 7-0 in the first game and 6-0 in the second, but rallied for consecutive overtime wins as Crystal River (9-11) fell victim to a rash of errors.
Dunnellon's only previous district win was against third-seeded Wildwood late in the season. For its toils on Tuesday, the Tigers (6-10) will be rewarded with a 7 p.m. date today with top-seeded Lecanto (22-2). Second-seeded Bushnell-South Sumter plays Wildwood at 5 p.m.
"That's probably one of the best matches we've had all season," said second-year Dunnellon coach Sherri Lee. "It about gave me a heart attack."
In game one, Dunnellon trailed 11-5 and 12-8 before scoring five straight points to take a 13-12 lead. Similarly, Dunnellon trailed 12-4 in the second game, but rallied for eight unanswered points to knot the game at 12-12.
"I knew they could do it," Lee said. "We tend to get nervous and mess up, but I knew we had the talent and ability. It was just whether or not we could play."
While Lee called the effort one of her team's best, Crystal River coach Vicki Browning called it one of her team's worst.
"You don't play volleyball like that and win," Browning said. "They just didn't come to play. We missed serves, our setters couldn't get the ball up to the net, we missed hits, we didn't pass well Dunnellon deserves it 100 percent."
Gulf tops Pasco, doesn't please coach
NEW PORT RICHEY _ Gulf defeated Pasco 15-11, 15-3 in the Class 3A, District 7 tournament on Tuesday _ but coach Nancy Kinnunen wasn't happy with her Buccaneers.
"We don't have the aggressiveness we need to win," Kinnunen said. "It has to come from deep inside. We've had it before, but we've lost it."
The Bucs (11-10) have less than 20 hours to get it back. Gulf faces the Ridgewood Rams in today's second round at 4 p.m. at the Land O'Lakes High gymnasium. Ridgewood is seeded No.
2 in the district with a 17-5 overall record.
The Pirates wrapped up its season with an 0-16 overall record, but not before they gave Gulf a scare the day before Halloween.
Gulf handed the Pirates plenty of first-game chances with a dozen unsuccessful first services. The Pirates held a 10-9 lead before Gulf regained its composure.
Shelley Cregan served the Bucs into a 14-10 lead, including a sharp spike point from Cathy O'Brien. After a turnover and a Pasco point, the Pirates' Cindy Lunceford pounded a spike out-of-bounds for Gulf's game-winning point.
The deciding game was never in doubt as Gulf raced to a 5-0 lead. Soon, that advantage stretched to 12-3 and eight Buccaneer points had been scored off Pirate errors. The Bucs misplayed six more serves in the game.
O'Brien closed out the match with three scoring spikes that sent the Bucs into today's second round.
"We're going to have to learn how to serve," Kinnunen said. "We can't go anywhere with that (serving)."
Hernando struggles past Springstead
BROOKSVILLE _ Catina Monroe scored the winning point as Hernando defeated an inspired Springstead team 15-7, 11-15, 15-12 in the first round of the Class 3A, District 7 volleyball tournament.
The game between the eighth-seeded Leopards and the ninth-seeded Eagles proved to be much different from the 15-0, 15-0 sweep Hernando had the last time the two teams met.
"We played good, but Springstead was much improved from the last time we played," said Hernando coach T.V. Chambers.
In the third game, Springstead trailed 4-0 before running off nine straight points with Michelle Browne serving. Hernando came back to take a 12-11 lead before Springstead scored the final four points.
Hernando is 6-9 in district play while Springstead ends the season at 2-11.
_ Times correspondents Steve Persall and Don Lee contributed to this roundup.