LAND O’ LAKES — Chris Vergnaud celebrated, and then jumped, about as high as one of his players. He just couldn’t contain his excitement.
“Of course I’m excited — it’s a district game, a big one,” the Anclote coach said. “I think we proved we’re one of the contenders to win our district and that we can play well in our second half of the season.”
The Sharks (13-3, 4-1 Class 5A-District 8) did just that by handling district foe Land O’ Lakes (7-6, 2-3), sweeping the Gators 3-0 (25-12, 28-26, 25-18).
“We know Land O’ Lakes isn’t going to fold — they’re going to come back,” Vergnaud said. “We’ve seen it at matches, seen it in the papers. They’re a good team that you can’t sleep on.”
However, the Sharks handled Game 1 easily, thanks to standout performances from Marissa Niedermeyer, Aaliyah Anderson and Mia Lockhart, plus outscoring the Gators 19-3 down the stretch.
Game 2 was more competitive, including Land O’ Lakes holding the lead most of the game, but Anclote would tie it in a back-and-forth rally. Gators senior OH Tyra Long would keep giving her team the edge, but the Sharks would put away the game four serves into overtime.
The Sharks would get to 24-12 in Game 3 before the Gators made a late 6-0 rally, but Anclote won the match on a Niedermeyer kill.