Lecanto High senior Kristi Matthews made three solo blocks and recorded three kills in the final game as the Panthers won their second consecutive Class 2A, District 9 volleyball title with a 15-13, 3-15, 15-6 victory over South Sumter Thursday night. Lecanto (24-2) will meet the winner of today's Class 2A, District 10 final in the Region V game Tuesday.
The Panthers, the No. 1 seed in the five-team tournament, weathered an off-night from the service line while second-seeded South Sumter served its way to a lopsided victory in the second set.
The Raiders (10-12) were one of only two teams to beat the Panthers this season.
"They served so hard," Lecanto coach Karen Boisvert said of the Raiders. "By the time we got to serve we were still worried about the last point. The ball was hit right to us and we were hitting them off the court."
Lecanto led 14-11 in the first game when South Sumter reeled off two straight points, but a solo block at the net by Matthews broke the Raiders' momentum. South Sumter spiker Eltonya Baker was called for a lift on match point.
In the second game, Lecanto committed six of its 14 service errors on the night while South Sumter scored on six aces.
"I was scared going into that third game, but we pulled together as a team," said Matthews.
3A-7: Land O'Lakes,
Ridgewood in final again
LAND O'LAKES _ It's Land O'Lakes and Ridgewood fighting for the Class 3A, District 7 volleyball championship _ again.
The top-seeded Gators easily downed No. 5 Zephyrhills 15-2, 15-6 in one semifinal Thursday night at Land O'Lakes High. In the other semifinal, second-seeded Ridgewood survived its second scare in as many nights to defeat No. 3 Citrus 13-15, 15-6, 15-8. The final is at 6 p.m. today at Land O'Lakes High.
Land O'Lakes (17-11) will be after its fifth consecutive district title. Ridgewood (19-5) will be seeking its first. Last year, Land O'Lakes beat Ridgewood in three games for the title.
Thursday night, Land O'Lakes led Zephyrhills 4-2 in the first game when junior Cathy James came off the bench and reeled off 10 points with her serve to put the Gators up 14-2. During the run, the Bulldogs made seven unforced errors.
In the second game, the Bulldogs, behind the strong hitting of sophomore Jill Sanders, scored five straight points for a 5-5 tie, but Land O'Lakes outscored the Bulldogs 10-1 the rest of the way.
Ridgewood, which was stretched to three games in the quarterfinals by Gulf, blew an 11-2 lead in the first game and lost 13-15 to Citrus.
They came back to even the match, but in the third game, Citrus opened an 8-3 advantage behind the strong net play of 6-foot Lu Cazzoli.
The Rams began chipping away and took a 10-8 lead on junior Kristen Maguire's two kills. The Hurricanes never scored again.
_ Staff writer Cammy Clark contributed to this report.