By MEL SUITER
Hernando Sun Sports Reporter
Photography by Alice Mary Herden
BROOKSVILLE, Fla. --- The aspirations of visitors to elude Hernando Christian Academy of a victory-is a flirtation with disaster. That's been true for most of HCA's season so far. Heading into the game against Seven Rivers on Thursday Aug. 29, 2019 after beating Meadowbrook on Tuesday (3-1) their record was 4 and 0. For Seven Rivers though, disaster did not strike in the Lions' Den.
Hernando Christian Academy volleyball coach Stacy Hethorn is always in the process of making it tough for the opposition. She coaches and teaches her team, to be fully prepared and to make sure the company is as uncomfortable as possible, out on the court inside the Lions' Den.
So far this young volleyball season, the Lions have tracked down their opponents but after losing to Seven Rivers Christian 3-0, for the first time this season and at home, Thursday night, Aug. 29, Hethorn’s biggest coaching challenge is ahead of her.
“We just got done talking about that,” Hethorn said. “We just got to move on, we can’t sulk, we got to start fresh because every point is a new point.”
Seven Rivers Christian entered the game with a team that is physically larger than the Lions, a little more experience out on the court too but they had to earn all of their points against a determined Lion’s team.
“I did see our girls, they worked hard but there was a few times they were little scattered,” Hethorn said. “I do think they gave it their all, they worked hard. The other team did have to work for their points.”
There was a big game type atmosphere, inside the coziest place to watch volleyball. There was plenty of noise from the fans, a lot of chatter on the court as both teams continued to play every point with enthusiasm. There were lots of points that were challenged with prolonged volley, which added more enthusiasm to the game.
“There were lots of good volley,” Hethorn said. “Lots of good blocks, we’ve not played a team yet, that we had to block a lot, so it was nice to see that they were able to block, we have not met a team that likes to attack, like this one!”
After the match and wiping the sweat from his forehead with a towel and smiling, Seven Rivers Christian volleyball coach, Steve Stack said that his team has nothing but respect for the Lions and that they expect a good, competitive match every time they play the Lions.
“It is a good win, a road game like this, had energy early took a little while to get them dialed in,” Stack said, after the match. “We have always had nothing but respect for HCA, they always give us a big game.”
Seven Rivers Christian attacked the Lion’s back line, applying pressure on the HCA’s defense which forced the Lions into making uncharacteristic mistakes.
Leading the charge for the Warriors, senior Madison Peters. She possesses a thunder-like serve that found some holes in the defense and when she was at the net, Peters is able to make blocks for her team.
Peters had some defensive help from the smallest player on the Warriors team, sophomore Lila Johnson. She plays in the middle of the back line and she was able to dig many balls that appeared as if they would result in points for the Lions.
“Everything is a team effort with this group,” Stack said. “Everybody has a job to do, everybody has a role and we have high expectations from everybody out there.”
Shaking off the disappointing loss against the Warriors and moving forward will be a huge step for the Lions but as a resilient group, they will face the storm together and altogether they will weather the first storm of the season.
Hethorn will make sure that the Lions will be prepared for the next game, Thursday night Sept. 5, with a road trip to Spring Hill, Fla. The Lions will be at Classical Prep High School, all of the action begins at 6 p.m.
Hethorn will keep her team hungry for victories by playing hard and for the opponent they will have to respect the tempest that is known as Hernando Christain Academy Lions Volleyball.