SEMINOLE — East Lake’s Mike Morris got his first win as head coach Tuesday, but he hopes there are better wins in the future after the Eagles overcame numerous errors to down Indian Rocks Christian 25-15, 21-25, 25-23, 27-25.
“Even to win ugly, a win is a win,” Morris said. “We took care of business, but it’s not entirely satisfying.”
After winning state championships in 2010 and ’11 and reaching the third round of the Class 8A region tournament last season, East Lake is in a rebuilding year with only two varsity starters returning.
East Lake went on a 6-0 run in the first game and grabbed a 13-7 lead. Indian Rocks Christian (3-1) could not get any closer and the game ended on a kill by Cat Wegner.
IRC turned things around in the second game. Behind kills from Monique Oliver and Kendall Cromwell, with help from some East Lake errors, the Golden Eagles jumped out to an 8-1 lead. East Lake (1-1) tied the game at 16 then took a 21-18 lead. But IRC scored the final seven points.
In the third game IRC held a 22-18 lead, but things fell apart after errors and a block and kill by East Lake’s Kelsey Smith. The Eagles went on a 6-0 run to win 25-23.
“We’re up 22-18 in that third game and give up some dumb errors,” IRC coach Mark Foster said. “That immediately sucks the wind out of you.”
The fourth game was up for grabs. IRC had game point at 25-24, but a block attempt went out of bounds. Smith got a kill for a 26-25 lead and Wegner ended the game with another kill.
“They know they are better than that,” Morris said. “If we get satisfied with a win just being a win then we’re never going to be what this team can be. They have to make a commitment to push harder.”
The match was IRC’s second of the day. Earlier, it defeated Seffner Christian 25-23, 23-25, 25-17, 25-18.
“I didn’t want them to use being tired as an excuse,” Foster said. “We knew this was coming. We trained for this. And actually, we started slowly and got better as the match went on.”