By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
NORTH PORT — They say it’s difficult to beat a team three times in one season.
Well, tell that to North Port High School.
The Bobcats defeated Lemon Bay for the third time this year, with a 25-13, 25-19, 25-18 sweep Thursday night.
“We had a lot of hustle,” North Port coach Adrienne Moreno said. “There were a lot of save plays. It was awesome. We had a lot of hustle, and we were swinging.”
In that match-clinching set, the Bobcats jumped out to an early 5-0 run, but the Manta Rays went on a 6-0 run of their own immediately after to give them a 6-5 lead.
It seemed like anytime Lemon Bay had a run, North Port went on one of its own. After that 6-0 run for the Manta Rays, the Bobcats answered right back to make it 13-6 on the serve of Lindsey Matthews.
Matthews and the Bobcats had great success while serving Thursday, as she and Raychel Sipe each had four aces, with North Port totaling 12 on the night.
“Placement (was working),” Moreno said. “The girls were picking good spots, and we were serving aggressive and hard.”
Lemon Bay coach Pat Auer wasn’t pleased with his team’s performance when receiving the serve.
“It was our passing,” Auer said. “We had a couple on them, too, but it comes down to our passing. If we don’t get our pass down, we can’t win.”
Earlier in the match, in set two, Lemon Bay began with a 6-0 run, but then before you knew it, the score was 9-7 in favor of North Port.
Matthews had a match-high 14 digs, while also adding 10 kills. Sipe’s 11 service points were a match-high, and she also had seven digs. Alexis Francavilla led all players with 14 kills.
For Lemon Bay, Caroline Hill had a team-high 10 kills and four blocks. Ryan Carley led the Manta Rays with eight digs, and Haylee Layne had eight assists.