By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports
NORTH PORT — The first and third were easy.
The second, not so much.
Charlotte had to fight back from a nine-point deficit in the second set to pull off a win and controlled the match for a majority of the first and third to sweep North Port 25-15, 25-22, 25-15 on the road Thursday night.
It was the sixth sweep of the season for the Tarpons (7-0) while the Bobcats (3-3) lost their third straight.
Charlotte never trailed in the first set but fell behind 12-3 in the second before staging a furious rally. The Tarpons scored seven of the next eight points out of a timeout to pull to within three and eventually fought all the way back to take a 20-19 lead after an ace by Abby Hayse — one of her three in the match — and a hitting errors by the Bobcats.
“That second game we just let them keep the ball going and we were making mistakes,” Charlotte coach Michelle Dill said. “That was the biggest thing. We just couldn’t keep the ball alive and we were making all kinds of errors.”
The Bobcats responded by winning two of the next three points to go up 22-21 but the Tarpons scored the final four of the set, highlighted by a set-point block by Shelby Beisner, to take a 2-0 set lead in the match.
“When their best hitters were in the back row we focused on capitalizing on our front row to keep it rolling and to make sure we were keeping the ball in play,” Dill said.
Beisner, who led the Tarpons with 13 kills, then took over the match in the final frame. The sophomore had six of her kills, as well as an ace, in the third set and even finished the match off with a kill.
Skylar Gribben also had eight kills for the Tarpons while Emily Vaughn added seven. Alani Qualls, who was recently called up from junior varsity, also played a key role during the second set rally, scoring three of her fours kills in the frame.
North Port coach Adrienne Moreno admitted losing such a big lead in the second set was a little deflating.
“In that second game we had plenty of energy, communication and then it went downhill from there,” Moreno said.
Alexis Francavilla led the Bobcats with 10 kills and five blocks.