Prep volleyball | Lakewood Ranch gets quick verdict after long delay

adell@bradenton.comOctober 24, 2012 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- The Lakewood Ranch volleyball team proved it knows how to make up for lost time.

After waiting more than two hours to play their Class 6A-District 12 tournament match against Largo on Tuesday night, the Mustangs disposed of the Packers in 59 minutes with a three-game sweep.

The delay was a result of someone failing to contact referees to officiate the match. A makeshift officiating crew that was doing an earlier match off site agreed to handle the chores, but didn't get to Lakewood Ranch until around 9 p.m.

The match, scheduled for 7 p.m., began at 9:07.

The top-seeded Mustangs were not ruffled by the long wait and won 25-10, 25-16 and 25-12 to improve their record to 19-5 and remain unbeaten against district competition. Largo finished its season at 9-19.

Lakewood Ranch will be at home Thursday night and host the district championship match against Seminole Osceola, which defeated Palmetto in five games Tuesday night.

"It was a long wait, but it didn't bother us as much as them because we were home," Lakewood Ranch head coach Perri Hankins said. "Our girls played well. We are focused and ready to go in the postseason. We were here and able to do what we needed to during the wait. It's good because you never know what is going to happen. We just bounce and move on.

"Mariah (Robertson) did a great job for us. She was solid and pretty focused. We got to play a lot of players. Some of the young players went in and played very well."

Robertson played a well-rounded match. In the first game, she took over the serve with score tied at 2, and the Mustangs ran off 13 straight points. During the spree, Nicole Grant had five kills.

Robertson added three kills in the second game and had four kills and two aces in the final game.

"It was a long delay, but I don't think it bothered us," Robertson said. "We were a little bit tired. We were here all day at school and another four hours until the match started. It was kind of hard to get focused in the beginning because you are sitting around for so long. But once we got going, we shook it off. We had a solid win, which was good."

The Mustangs, who did not lose a game all season in district play, got solid contributions from a lot of players. Grant had 10 kills to lead the way.

Lakewood Ranch jumped out to big leads in the first two games then had problems finishing. The Mustangs led 24-5 in the first game and then Largo scored five straight points. In the second game, they were ahead 23-9 when Largo ran off seven straight points.

Lakewood Ranch led 20-9 in the final game and got two kills and an ace from Savannah Sears to close out the match.

"The first thing I am going to do Wednesday is call and make sure we have refs for Thursday," Hankins said.

Apparently there was a mixup on who was supposed to contact the officials.

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