By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports
ENGLEWOOD — Lemon Bay looked stellar in the second set but too many hitting errors led to a four-set loss to Sarasota at home Thursday night.
The two schools split the first two sets but the Sailors controlled the final two for a 25-14, 16-25, 25-15, 25-19 victory. Hannah Hritz led Sarasota with 10 kills and eight aces while Anna Massey also had 10 kills.
Hritz’s performance on serve was critical during the final set when she kick-started an 8-0 run with five of her six aces to take the Sailors from down 8-5 to up 13-8. Massey had two kills in the third set to help the Sailors retake control of the match and then three more in the final set to finish off the Manta Rays, who appeared to have had the momentum after the second.
After a first set that was filled with hitting errors, Lemon Bay collected itself and only trailed briefly in the second. The two teams exchanged points before Lemon Bay pushed an 11-10 lead to 14-10 and later scored nine of the final 12 points to take the set.
But hitting errors reared their heads again in the final two sets, aiding Sarasota to victory.
“We started free balling and free balling and I told them you’ve got to hit the ball,” Lemon Bay coach Pat Auer said. “There’s only so much you can as you sit there. You can yell at them or scream at them but they’re the one’s that have to be out there doing it so it’s something we’ve got to work on.”
Caroline Hill led the Manta Rays with seven kills and Hannah Krzysiak added six. Kacee Nelson also had 12 digs in the loss.