Article by MEL SUITER
Photography by ALICE MARY HERDEN
BROOKSVILLE, Fla. ---- It was emotional, there was plenty of drama and it was everything a regional quarter final volleyball tournament game could offer to the very loud crowd inside the gymnasium on the campus of Nature Coast Tech High School to enjoy.
Facing their in-county rival Weeki Wachee High School at home, Thursday October 24, the Sharks put together a combination of great rallies, well-played defense and defeated the Hornets 3-1, ending the Weeki Wachee High School volleyball season.
Proving that she is a capable team leader, Sharks’ senior co-captain Madison Clark can hit the ball with force that hurts the Wilson volleyball. She is also able to gather her teammates and counsel in the team huddle and out on the court.
In the fourth game of the match, Clark looked to her right and she noticed that her teammate and the other Sharks’ co-captain Karla Cantero-Garcia held her head down after making a mistake that continued the service for the Hornets.
Clark ran over to her teammate and placed her left hand on Cantero-Garcia’s right shoulder and leaned in and said words of encouragement and then gave her a reassuring pat on the shoulder. Whatever was said by Clark, worked because the next play Cantero-Garcia raised up from the court with both her arms extended, stopped the ball at the top of the net and then pushed the ball onto the wooden floor space that was not occupied by any Hornets.
The success of the defense played by the Sharks in the fourth game, returned momentum to the Sharks’ side of the net and they won the game 25-18; along with the promise of one more volleyball game for Nature Coast Tech High School.
“Our Maddie does a fantastic job!” Nature Coast Tech High School volleyball coach Emily Gore said. “She really carries us, she’s our go to person when she is scoring from the back row and she has a great serve too we are a hard team to stop and the other girls step up- it just makes us a very difficult team to deal with!”
Clark does possess a hard-hitting shot and for the season her kill percentage is at 43.9, appearing in 87 sets played this year for the Sharks.
Weeki Wachee High School did push the Sharks by winning the third game of the match 25-22, with the accurate serving from freshman Morgan Maeder scoring seven points-in-a-row and the strong defense played by sophomore middle hitter Sy Crowley at the net.
In the huddle between game three and game four, Gore spent the time talking to her team; she told them to relax out on the floor and play Sharks’ style of volleyball.
They broke the team huddle and followed the instruction from Gore. Nature Coast put together a solid serve game keeping the Hornets at the back line in the decisive fourth and final match of the night.
“Super excited for the girls proud of them with the way the played and with their effort,” Gore said. “It is a little extra sweet because it is Weeki Wachee it is a county rivalry. I don’t think many people thought that we would be in this position coming into the season; we had lost so many talented seniors off of last year’s team I am just super excited.”
Weeki Wachee High School volleyball team finished the season with a record of 12-10.
Nature Coast Tech High School overall record is at a respectable 19-9. Gore and her squad will continue the show, Tuesday October 29, at 7 p.m. against Tarpon Springs High School in the Regional 4A Semifinal.
Gore and her squad will try and keep the team’s dream alive and well. The goal is to pack up the team’s logo bags, get them neatly loaded in the baggage hold under the bus for a history- making trip to the city of Ft. Myers and to the hardwood volleyball court inside the Suncoast Credit Union Arena - for a Shark attack!