Four of Hernando County's teams face a busy weekend.
Central, Hernando, Springstead and Weeki Wachee will all participate in the Fivay High School Classic Volleyball Tournament held Friday and Saturday in Hudson.
The 12-team event, in its third year, will take place at two locations, Fivay and Hudson High, and guarantees five matches for each squad.
Last year, Steinbrenner defeated Nature Coast for the championship. Neither team has returned.
Aside from the Hernando County quartet, the rest of the field include: Fivay, Hudson, Land O' Lakes, Lecanto, McKeel Academy, Pasco, Sunlake and Wesley Chapel.
Teams will be divided into four pools, playing twice on Friday night. The top two from each pool will advance to the Gold bracket on Saturday, while the four third-place finishers move on to the Silver bracket.
Matches on Saturday begin at 9 a.m. The championship final is tentatively set for 3 p.m.
On paper, Springstead would seem the local squad with the most realistic shot of making some noise.
Though the Lady Eagles returned only one starter, senior outside hitter Marisa Welch, from last year's Sweet 16 team, they've remained more than competitive.
Under first-year head coach Noemi Rivera, Springstead comes in 6-2. In four county matches, they've only dropped one game – to Weeki Wachee on Wednesday.
The Lady Eagles have shown vulnerability within Class 6A, District 6, standing at 3-2.
"We're hoping to be in the Gold bracket and win the whole thing," Rivera said. "I don't know too much about the other teams, but we're excited to play teams outside of our district and in-county games.
"We're doing really well. The chemistry is up. I'm excited. Everybody is playing together. We're doing what we need to do."
In Pool D at Hudson, Springstead will play Sunlake at 4:30 p.m. and Pasco at 6:30 p.m.
"Winning the tournament obviously would be a big plus," Rivera said. "But just coming out, playing as a team, getting closer as a team, getting stronger as a team; that would be the main win."
Hernando is no stranger to this event, having played in it the previous two seasons.
The Lady Leopards placed second in 2010 to Wiregrass Ranch. Last year they went 2-3, but won their last two matches and finished the regular season winning 7-of-8.
So far, this campaign has been a struggle. They are 4-7 overall and 3-5 in 5A-7.
"A lot of times we've had our turning point at this tournament," Hernando head coach Patti Martin said. "We're hoping this is our turning point. We're getting closer to districts. We haven't had a strong season; much weaker than I expected.
"I don't have any drama. It's a great group of girls. There's not one thing I can pinpoint. We're playing a good game. We're just not playing a great game."
Like Springstead, the Lady Leopards are at Hudson Friday, playing in Pool C. They'll take on Hudson at 5:30 p.m. and Wesley Chapel at 6:30 p.m.
"If we don't walk away with a trophy, hopefully we walk away with a team willing to fight," Martin said. "If we get it together, I'm totally content with that."
Central is also returning to this tournament, having gone 1-4 in 2011.
The Lady Bears have already dealt with a coaching change this season, with former headman Anthony DiSciascio returning to the bench.
They are 3-5 overall, 1-4 6A-6, and have gone 2-2 since DiSciascio returned, including a victory over Hernando last week.
"We're looking to see how we play back-to-back days for the first time," DiSciascio said. "We'll see how we rebound. We're trying to get consistency out of this group.
"Mentally, I think they're a little shaken up. We're trying to get tough mentally each and every day, and trying to stay focused. Get that desire to want to win and make sure the fundamentals are reinforced."
Central is part of Pool A at Fivay. The Lady Bears square off with Fivay at 5:30 p.m. and Land O' Lakes at 6:30 p.m.
"Going into pool play, we're expecting to get ourselves in good position for bracket play Saturday," DiSciascio said. "If we go down there and something happens and we find ourselves in the Silver bracket, be able to rebound.
"There's no reason we shouldn't be able to win the Silver bracket. Expecting to win (the tournament) may be asking for too much, but we need to be able to compete. Everything else will take care of itself."
Weeki Wachee, in its second varsity season, has never taken part in a regular-season tournament before now.
The Lady Hornets (0-11) are in Pool B at Fivay, playing McKeel Academy at 4:30 p.m. and Lecanto at 5:30 p.m.
"This year we know more about what's going on. I want to give my girls more game situations going into districts," Weeki Wachee head coach Kelly Werkmeister said.
"We might be losing all our games right now, but the girls are getting a strong foundation. More playing time is what matters right now.
"We're hoping this just builds their confidence. The girls need to get a win underneath them and I think things will start clicking."