Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Lakewood Ranch Comes Up Short

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Lakewood Ranch Comes Up Short

Article excerpt

6A STATE VOLLEYBALL: After leading 2-0, Mustangs fail to close out match

KISSIMMEE -- It was right there for the Lakewood Ranch High volleyball team.

Right there.

"I know in my mind there was no doubt we weren't going to go," junior Ashlyn Falahee said. "Everyone was so pumped up and we were playing so well, there was no doubt in my mind we were going to go to the finals because of how well we were playing."

But before the Mustangs knew it, it was over.

Up two sets and two points away from closing the match out in the third, St. Augustine came all the way back to rip the carpet from under Lakewood Ranch.

And the Mustangs could not stop the runaway train, falling 19- 25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-20, 15-10 to the Yellowjackets in a Class 6A State Semifinal on Tuesday afternoon at Silver Spurs Arena.

"I think we were all thinking about tomorrow," Lakewood Ranch senior libero Jordan Wopinski said.

There is no tomorrow for the Mustangs, who saw their season end at 23-6 after reaching the State Final Four for the first time in school history.

St. Augustine will play for the 6A state championship at 4:05 p.m. today against Ocala Vanguard, which upset Fort Myers.

"When you get so close and you can taste it, you feel like there is nothing that can stop you anyway," Lakewood Ranch senior outside hitter Mariah Robertson said. "We were so close."

"You just know you should have had it," Mustangs coach Perri Hankins said. "I can't lie and say we didn't have that. We did."

How close was Lakewood Ranch?

After taking the first two sets fairly easily, the Mustangs held a 23-22 lead in the third set.

"We were playing really well," Hankins said. "It's hard sometimes when you are beating a team so badly and you go up two games.

"We got ahead of ourselves. We haven't been here before. We started thinking about how awesome it would be to be in the final. We were happy to see Fort Myers wasn't going to be in the finals. We thought this was going to be a year to have a great chance of winning it. …

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