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Citrus takes 4A-7 trophy

On one side, the Citrus players screamed, celebrated and raised their championship trophy up high for all their fans to see.

On the other, some Lecanto players wept silently in their towels.

That's the bitter reality of a tournament championship game: Somebody wins the match, the trophy and the right to play at home. The other team gets to continue to play, but on the road.

After defeating Lecanto twice during the regular season, Citrus closed out the trilogy Thursday night with a 15-6, 15-5 win over the Panthers to win the Class 4A-District 7 championship.

"We were all ready tonight," Citrus senior Jessica Davila said. "It felt good to have a crowd here so we can show what we can do. We were very focused."

The last time Citrus and Lecanto met, it was the second regular-season meeting and the Hurricanes won so handily that Citrus coach Pat King thought the Panthers may have been missing a few players.

Thursday's win, although in two games, wasn't as easy for Citrus, but this time around King wasn't quite as surprised by the outcome.

"I was still surprised because I thought they'd play better," King said. "They played better in the second and third games (in Wednesday night's win over Crystal River) so we told our girls to be careful and play our game."

All season, Citrus has been the kind of team to fall behind, then rally for victories. Thursday, the Hurricanes jumped out to a 5-2 first-game lead behind the serves of Miranda Hren. Lecanto rallied to within 5-4, but never challenged again. Christine Susi's five straight service points helped create the insurmountable lead.

Lecanto fell behind 7-0 in the second game before the Panthers managed to pull within 9-4. The game produced some impressive rallies, but for the most part Citrus was on the winning end.

"When we did have rallies tonight, we didn't get too excited or too nervous and I was happy about that," King said.

Citrus will host a regional quarterfinal Tuesday against Zephyrhills and Lecanto will travel to a quarterfinal match at Hudson.

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