Leesburg, Fla. – First place in the Sun-Lakes Conference was on the line Wednesday night when the Lake-Sumter State College volleyball team hosted No. 10 Pasco-Hernando State College.
These two programs met previously this season in conference play and the match was an epic back and forth battle for five sets. Wednesday night's matchup met the hype leading into the contest and may have surpassed the round I clash in the new rivalry.
Set one was a dominant performance by the Lakehawks. The team jumped out to an early lead and never relinquished the scoreboard all the way to a 25-21 victory. Down 7-2 early in set two, LSSC battled back to get within one point of the Bobcats. However, it was too little too late with Pasco-Hernando securing the set, 25-23.
A pivotal set three went to PHSC, 25-18, who put on full display why they are currently top 10 in the country in NJCAA Division II. With their backs against the wall, the Lakehawks came onto the court determined to send this match to a fifth set. With several long volley's, amazing plays by both teams and electric kills at the end, set four was worth the price of admission by itself. The Bobcats swarmed back in the final moments, erasing a 23-20 deficit to tie the match at 25-25. Back-to-back kills gave LSSC the win and setup another fifth set finale.
Pasco-Hernando held a narrow 2-1 lead before going on a four point run to go up 6-1 when Lake-Sumter called its first timeout. The Lakehawks would come back to tie up the match at 9-9, but that would be as close as they would get to taking a lead. PHSC would come up big in the end scoring two consecutive points for the 15-12 victory in the set and the match.
Amanda Berecz and Emma Gray both totaled more than 20+ digs while Gray added 19 points. After being named Setter of the Week for the third time this season, Gabriela Hernandez responded with her fourth 50+ assist performance of 2018. Talyn Allard added 16 points with Kameron Johnson totaling 10 points of her own. Amber Schwartz also finished in double digits with 11 digs and four points.
The win by Pasco-Hernando secures them first place in the inaugural season of the Sun-Lakes Conference. Lake-Sumter will finish in second. With three games remaining in the regular season, it is good to note that these two programs could meet up for round III in the Sun-Lakes Conference Tournament. Both teams would have to meet in the championship game, Sunday Nov. 4.
Friday will mark the final home game for the 2018 season and sophomore night for the Lakehawks. LSSC (11-11, 6-2) will host Florida Gateway (8-14, 0-7) with the game slated to begin at 6 pm.