Irma’s aftermath causes scheduling chaos

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead's football team sprints on to the field earlier this season. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Hurricane Irma is in the rearview mirror, but her impacts are still being felt. High school sports may be a low-level concern as the state recovers from the storm, however coaches and administrators are nonetheless scrambling trying to figure out how to move forward.
In Hernando County, where school and all activities had already been called off last Thursday through Saturday in preparation for Irma, prep sports have been shut down until Monday, when all schools will reopen. That means no practices and no games, even if they’re off campus or outside the county.

Sports notebook: NCT earns big wins on volleyball court

Between Labor Day on Monday and Hurricane Irma knocking out all activities Thursday through Saturday, it was a very short week of action in prep sports.
But the Nature Coast volleyball team made the most of the two-day window, earning two huge Class 6A, District 7 victories.

Sports notebook: NCT rolls South Sumter for first win

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast's Michael Weston carries the ball versus South Sumter on Friday night. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

After its season opener against IMG Academy White lasted less than a quarter because of rain, the last thing Nature Coast wanted was more weather-related delays.
On a Friday night when seemingly every area game was impacted by lightning, the Sharks managed get their home opener versus South Sumter off without a hitch, collecting a 33-7 victory.

Sports Notebook: Hernando opens season in style

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Hernando's Ygenio Booker during Friday night's game against Fivay, in which he had a 68-yard touchdown run. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Throughout his 18 seasons at the helm of Springstead and now Hernando, Bill Vonada has often said a coach is never fully satisfied.
But in evaluating Friday’s season opener, the veteran football headman couldn’t find much fault with the outcome. The Leopards stomped Fivay at Tom Fisher Memorial Stadium, 62-0.
“The guys came out firing on all cylinders and really just didn’t have any letup at any position or play,” Vonada said. “I guess not being able to play in the spring and all that, the guys were charged up about playing somebody else.

Springstead storms back, beats Hernando in 5

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead's Jen Aten attempts to spike the ball over the block of Hernando's Madison Janssens Thursday night. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

SPRING HILL – The prep volleyball season is less than a week old, and Hernando and Springstead aren’t even in the same classification, let alone the same district.
But Thursday night’s meeting between the county rivals on Springstead’s shiny new gym floor didn’t lack in entertainment value. What appeared at first to be an easy victory for the visiting Lady Leopards turned out to be a stirring triumph for the host Lady Eagles, who rallied from an 0-2 deficit to win in five games, 28-30, 17-25, 25-17, 25-11, 15-7.

Weeki Wachee can’t clear ‘final’ hurdle

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Weeki Wachee's Seytia Hill attempts to spike over the Ponte Verdra defense during the regional final Tuesday night. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

WEEKI WACHEE – For Weeki Wachee, Tuesday night surely had too familiar a feel. Yes, the venue had changed, but the outcome and situation closely mirrored the end of the 2015 campaign.
The Lady Hornets hosted Ponte Vedra in the Class 6A, Region 2 final and just as they had a year ago in this same round but on the road, they fell to the Lady Sharks in four games, this time 25-19, 22-25, 25-20, 25-16.

Sports notebook: Lady Hornets to host regional final

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

The Weeki Wachee volleyball team will host Ponte Vedra in a regional final on Tuesday night. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

For the second straight season, the Weeki Wachee volleyball team is headed back to the Elite Eight. This time, the Lady Hornets get to play it in their own gym.
On Tuesday at 7 p.m., they’ll host Ponte Vedra in the Class 6A, Region 2 final, a rematch of last year’s meeting in the same round, won by the host Sharks, 25-27, 25-19, 27-25, 25-13.

Weeki Wachee sweeps way into semis

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Weeki Wachee's Bri Grayson Simon (14) and Seytia Hill go up for the block on Gulf's Alyssa Abrams in Tuesday night's match. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

WEEKI WACHEE – The Weeki Wachee volleyball team took another step toward at least matching last season’s run to the Elite Eight on Tuesday night.
Hosting Gulf in a Class 6A, Region 2 quarterfinal, the Lady Hornets blanked the visitors in three games, 25-15, 27-25, 25-16, advancing to a semifinal Friday night starting 7 p.m. at Fivay.
“It’s anybody’s game. They’re going to keep on pushing. They want to go as far as they can go,” Weeki Wachee head coach Kelly Werkmeister said. “We’re going to ride it until God says it’s time for us to end.”

Weeki Wachee wins second district crown

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Weeki Wachee's Miranda Werkmeister totaled 19 kills and 25 digs in Thursday's 6A-7 final against Crystal River. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

CRYSTAL RIVER – Weeki Wachee came into the Class 6A, District 7 Tournament this week as the third seed, yet looked the part of a reigning district champion.
On Thursday night, the Lady Hornets knocked off the hosts and top seed, Crystal River, to earn a second straight district crown, 21-25, 29-27, 25-22, 25-17.

Hornets survive do-or-die with Hernando

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Weeki Wachee setter Sarah Asbury had a 44 assist and a 12-point turn at serve to start the third game for Tuesday's 6A-7 semifinal versus Hernando. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

CRYSTAL RIVER – Hernando and Weeki Wachee have met in a district championship match the past three seasons. But each time, the losing team could rest easy knowing it had a trip to regionals in its back pocket.
There was no such safety net on Tuesday night, when the county rivals squared off in the postseason for the fourth year in a row, but this time in the Class 6A, District 7 semifinals at Crystal River.

The Lady Leopards had captured both regular-season meetings, yet the Lady Hornets won when it mattered most, collecting a 25-18, 25-27, 25-10, 25-20 victory.


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