WEEKI WACHEE, FLORIDA- The dominance of Weeki Wachee’s volleyball team in Hernando County is well documented, with the last time the Hornets had lost to an in-county opponent was back on Oct. 18, 2018 to Nature Coast.
Weeki Wachee entered Tuesday’s match against Springstead on a roll like most seasons at 3-0, but the Eagles also went in with an undefeated record of 2-0. Something had to give and it would be the former in a thrilling match. Springstead took Weeki Wachee the length, defeating the Hornets in five sets 18-25, 25-16, 14-25, 25-22, 15-10.
For the Eagles who went in riding a 6-game losing skid to the Hornets, the win over Weeki Wachee was the first for Springstead since Aug. 29, 2017.
“I think whenever we play the schools that are in the Gulf Coast 8, it’s always mental,” Springstead coach Andrea Gracey said. “There’s a lot of mental aspects there even though we are not in districts with them. There’s a lot of rivalry and a lot of competition.”
That competition was on full display between the top two teams out of Hernando County and the first set showed exactly what kind of flow the night would bring on. Though Weeki Wachee was able to edge out Springstead 25-18 in the opening set, each one brought on more and more intensity as the night went on.
Springstead (3-0) dominated the second set and at times led by as many as nine points. Weeki Wachee regained the advantage in the third set 25-14, but senior outside hitter Ezzie Thompson was the key for the Eagles throughout the match and especially the final two sets.
The Eagles got key kills from Thompson in the final two sets and was able to pull off the in-county victory over the Hornets. Weeki Wachee got strong performances from seniors Courtney McDermott (17 digs, 42 assists), Allora Murray (37 digs) and Morgan Maeder (9 kills, 20 digs). Also contributing for the Hornets was junior Dylan Elferdink (14 kills, 3 blocks) and freshman Delanie Evans (10 digs).
For Springstead, Thompson ended the night with 23 kills, 17 digs and teammates Emily Miller (10 kills, 22 digs), Isabella Nunag (39 assists), Rylynn Lanziero (11 digs) contributed as well.
“Springstead was very good with their hitters,” Weeki Wachee coach Kelly Werkmeister said. “We were very scrappy with our digs. Those are the games you live for. Though we have a young team and are rebuilding, all in all, proud of both teams in how they played.”
Andy Villamarzo can be reached email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @Andy_Villamarzo.