New Port Richey, Fla. – The Lake-Sumter State College volleyball team is headed to Wild and Wonderful West Virginia after upsetting top seeded Pasco-Hernando State College in the Region 8 Championship game on Sunday.
It was the third installment of LSSC vs PHSC during Sun-Lakes Conference play. The previous two matchups went the distance into five sets and both resulted in a loss for Lake-Sumter. Heading into the Region 8 Tournament, the top two seeds had an opportunity to meet up once again. On Saturday, PHSC took down South Florida State in three sets while the Lakehawks battled through five sets to beat St. John's River.
The stage was set for Pasco-Hernando/Lake-Sumter III. The final chapter in the 2018 season did not disappoint. It was the prize fight everyone expected it to be.
Coming out strong in set one, LSSC took the first set 26-24. Set two was a dominant performance by the Lakehawks who never gave up the lead all the way through, resulting in a 25-19 win. Pasco-Hernando was not going away quietly and showed why they are the No. 10 team in the latest NJCAA national poll with a 25-18 victory. Set four was a back and forth battle with Lake-Sumter having a shot at match point twice, but they could not close it out, falling 27-25.
First one to 15 wins in the most important set of the entire season. Both programs with their backs against the wall and a trip to nationals on the line. Pasco-Hernando scored first, but the back and forth battle ensued until the Lakehawks created separation at the switch. LSSC went up 14-10, just one point from advancing before the Bobcats made one final push. A few minutes later, Lake-Sumter was clinging to a one point lead, 14-13. Pasco-Hernando served and after a solid return from Jasmine Kimpel, the Bobcats sent the ball out of bounds, sending LSSC on to Nationals. Local product, Emma Gray, was selected as the Region 8 Tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
After the hugs and tears of joy, Head Coach Amanda Phelps was able to express her emotions. "I am so proud of this team! The amount of heart I saw this weekend was immeasurable!" Coach Phelps continued, "This group has worked so hard to get to this point and deserve every accolade they received. West Virginia, here we come!"
Sixteen teams will head to Charleston, WV next week for Nationals. Matches will begin Thursday Nov. 15 and conclude that Saturday. Seeding will take place later this week. For all up to date information, you can visit the NJCAA Volleyball Championship site. Ticket information and game times will be available later this week. Check back to Lakehawksports.com daily for updated information.