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EAGLES FIND FORMULA TO TOPPLE HURRICANES

East Lake's Lauran Eschenroeder and Julia Brunner rose high above the net to form an impenetrable wall.

As the Palm Harbor University attack headed straight for them, Eschenroeder and Brunner combined to block the ball to the floor in front of the bewildered Hurricanes.

The final point in East Lake's 29-27, 25-18, 25-19 victory over rival PHU played out much like the rest of Wednesday's match.

Every time the Hurricanes attacked, the Eagles had an answer.

With its three-game sweep, East Lake made a statement to the rest of the county that its adolescent squad had come of age.

"We're young," East Lake coach Terry Small said. "Palm Harbor's a great team. For us to come out like this it shows, yeah, we're capable."

The match turned on a back-and-forth first game. The Hurricanes (2-2) held a 17-12 advantage but watched the Eagles chip away, eventually tying at 23. Leading 28-27, East Lake sophomore Brittnay Estes smacked a serve that barely cleared the net and landed on the floor in front of PHU's Cassie Roy to give the Eagles the all-important first game.

From that moment, the Hurricanes were never able to regain their focus. Sensing blood, the Eagles pounced.

"We picked up our game, and we definitely played with the most intensity we've ever played with," Estes said. "I mean, we just played amazing."

East Lake pulled ahead 10-6 early in Game Two and never saw its lead dwindle below four points. The third game was more of the same; the Eagles led by as many as 11 to win going away.

"Once we got in synch we were unstoppable," East Lake's Brianna McComeskey said. "That's what happened in the second and the third game."

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