ENGLEWOOD – Before the Lemon Bay High School volleyball team took to the floor Wednesday, each player paid tribute to the teacher who’s had the most impact on their lives.
But it was Out-of-Door Academy of Sarasota that taught the Manta Rays a valuable lesson in what could happen if you relax against an opponent.
Lesson learned. Lemon Bay shook off the setback in time to down the pesky Thunder 3-1 (25-11, 25-16, 18-25, 25-20) in a non-district match, the second of three-straight home games in three nights.
Hannah Krzysiak and Caroline Hill each had double-doubles for the Manta Rays as they overcame an amazing night from Shelby Fulton, who had 13 blocks for ODA.
“We were up against some really big blockers and we did really well covering against that.,” Hill said, who had 16 digs and 13 kills. “We’ve struggled closing out matches, but we’ve learned to overcome that. We regrouped after the third game, learned from our mistakes and took it from there.”
After cruising past Cape Coral on Tuesday, it seemed as if the Manta Rays (5-3) were going to have another easy night against the young Thunder squad as they put together a 13-1 run in the first set for an easy win.
Lemon Bay led wire-to-wire in the second set, with Amanda Beaudoin serving up an 8-0 run to break things open and give the Manta Rays a 2-0 lead.
However, ODA (5-2) didn’t quit as it changed its tactics and dominated the third game with the help of Sophie Fedder’s serve to get back in the match, and hung for much of the fourth set, as Fulton continually stuffed potential kills back in Lemon Bay’s faces before they finally put the match to bed.
“When they went to the outside they threw us for a loop. ODA is a good team that plays well together and we went in and got the digs,” Auer said. “We got too comfortable in that third set and they put BreAnn Brown (five kills) outside and we let up.”
Krzysiak didn’t have the same service game as Tuesday, but ended up with 16 kills and 15 digs. Leanna Kelly had 14 digs. Chloe Browder and Hailey Brown had 21 and 17 assists, respectively.
Adelaide Mahler had nine kills and Mackenzie Condrack had 27 digs for the Thunder. Ansley White had 15 assists.
“We’ve been working on our urgency because we tend to start a little slow. We can’t be finally doing it in the third set,” said ODA coach Stefanie Betz. “We’re a small school so we always have a young team, we have an eight-grader and two freshmen who play a lot. We’re trying to develop players and I think we’re doing that.”