TAMPA – Academy of the Holy Names thought it was done with Berkeley Prep for the season.
Academy beat Berkeley in five sets in the district final. It was the first win for the Jaguars against Berkeley since 1981. With a 25-19. 25-19. 25-22 home win against Avon Park on Wednesday, the Jaguars advanced to face a familiar foe in their attempt to advance to their first state title since 1977.
The Jaguars didn’t struggle much against Avon Park, but their focus seemed clearly on beating Berkeley Prep one more time.
“We were a little nervous,’’ said Academy coach Jeff Davis after the straight-set win. “We didn’t play our best. Berkeley was on our minds, but we welcome the challenge.’’
Courtney Vogler, who slammed home the winning point, said the team was looking for another chance at Berkeley Prep.
“We are beyond ready,’’ Vogler said. “We have to win.
“We get to practice and get ready for this one. This time we are confident, and that makes a big difference.’’
Avon Park would not go away, but after Academy took a 2-0 lead in sets, the Jaguars let down a bit. They led 21-14 in the third set, but Avon Park crept back in until the Jaguars ran away at the end to seal the win.
4A-3: Berkeley Prep sweeps Lake Placid
LAKE PLACID — Berkeley Prep used its height advantage and athleticism to overwhelm Lake Placid by scores of 25-18, 25-6 and 25-10 in the Class 4A-Region 3 quarterfinals Wednesday night.
The win improved the Buccaneers to 19-7 on the season and sets up a rematch with Academy of the Holy Names in the region semifinals. Academy of the Holy Names upset Berkeley Prep in fives sets in the district final.
Lake Placid, which finished 22-6, jumped in front 7-1 in the first set before Berkeley Prep found the range at the net, led by senior captain Sidney Brown’s powerful kill shots and steadily pulled away for the victory.
8A-2: Plant falls to Palm Harbor
TAMPA — For the second consecutive season, Plant’s season ended in the region quarterfinals on its home court.
And the pain was evident in the eyes of the Plant players.
Visiting Palm Harbor University withstood a furious comeback by the Panthers in an elimination fourth set to hold on for a 3-1 victory in a Class 8A-Region 2 quarterfinal battle, winning with scores of 25-23, 19-25, 25-21 and 25-22.
Palm Harbor advances to Tuesday’s region semifinals to face Bloomingdale.
With a 2-1 lead in the match, the Hurricanes (19-8) were up 21-16 in the fourth set when Plant (17-7) scored five consecutive points to tie the score at 21.
After a Palm Harbor timeout, the Hurricanes broke the tie and scored three points, the final being a net error on Plant, to win the match.
“We knew it was going to come, and we had to be ready for it,” Palm Harbor coach Tara Kuk said. “(Plant) was going to stay after it.”
AnnaMarie Huy led the Hurricanes with 15 kills and six blocks while Naomi Mack had 13 kills and six blocks. Ameije Ismaili added 22 digs.
Sophomore Ansley Gould led Plant with a match-high 16 kills and junior Katherine Gabler had five blocks. Senior Kaitlyn Sibson had a match-high 24 digs.
“We just made way too many unforced errors,” Plant coach Jessica Lamm said.
8A-2: Bloomingdale gets past Manatee
BRADENTON — Between the second and third sets of Wednesday’s Class 8A-Region 2 volleyball quarterfinal, Manatee coach Rachel Batey took her players outside.
She told them the match wasn’t over, that the Hurricanes’ first region victory in six years was within their grasp.
Batey was pleased with how they reacted, but it wasn’t enough to get the Canes past Bloomingdale, which won 3-0 and advanced to Tuesday’s semifinal against Palm Harbor University.
Manatee fell 25-23 in Game 3, with the clinching kill coming courtesy of the Bulls’ Karissa Rhoades, a 5-foot-11 junior who finished with 20 kills and 17 digs.
The Bulls won Game 1 25-22 and Game 2 25-14.
The Hurricanes took their first lead of the night in the final game, going up 13-11 before the Bulls rallied for four straight points and never relinquished the lead.
Bulls coach Margeaux Sinibaldi said the team did its homework by scouting and game-planning for Manatee. But she threw all the credit to her players, including Chelsea Chavers, who finished with 15 digs.
“If you don’t execute, it does not matter,” said Sinibaldi, whose team improved to 18-10. “Those points that we won on scrappy plays is what keeps you in games and wins games. It’s huge.”
6A-3: Green leads Mitchell to 3-1 victory
TRINITY — Daniele Green can hit a volleyball any which way.
Balanced or falling, on poorly struck balls or hard-hit ones — it doesn’t matter, the Mitchell senior will return all of them.
“She may not be the hardest hitter we’ve had on this team, but she is the smartest,” Mustangs coach Keith Paulk said. “She is the outlet for this team.”
Powered by her 17 kills, Green led Mitchell to a 3-1 (25-12, 22-25, 25-15, 25-20) win against Hillsborough for its 19th-straight win to earn a rematch with 6A-10 foe Seminole Osceola in the region semifinals.
“Even if there was a bump in the match, the team is good about righting it and getting back on track,” Paulk said. “We find a way to get back to ourselves if we don’t play like we should.”
The Terriers (14-8) got a game-high 39 kills from Alex Sutton, plus 14 from Casey Gonsalves and 10 from Jennifer Eng, but it wasn’t enough to match Green’s tenacity. Green leads the Mustangs in digs and kills, and she has more than 300 this season after Wednesday’s game.
Mitchell (23-5) jumped out quickly in Game 1, but in Game 2, Hillsborough “just played better,” Paulk said, though the Mustangs rallied multiple times for five lead changes. The Mustangs dominated Game 3, while the Terriers made it interesting late in Game 4, rallying from down 19-13 to get to 23-20.
Mitchell and Osceola will play for a fourth time this season, and the Mustangs are 3-0 against the Warriors, including winning last week’s 6A-10 title game.
6A-3: Osceola knocks off King
TAMPA — Osceola hadn’t had much luck playing five-game matches this season, losing all seven fifth games it played.
In Wednesday night’s Class 6A-Region 3 quarterfinal, the Warriors broke that trend, beating King 3-2 (15-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-12, 15-7) to earn their first trip to the region semifinals.
In three of the games, Osceola immediately found itself down at least 4-0. Coach Ryan Kramer told his team on-court communication had to improve for the Warriors to win.
“In (those three games,) our serve was awful, and that kind of stopped our communication,” he said. “We got frustrated with ourselves. These are some of the most athletic kids I’ve ever seen, if they can talk and know where each other are, they’re pretty unstoppable.”
Emily Barton and Hayley Misewitch led Osceola with 17 and 15 kills, respectively. Barton also led the team with five aces.
Arielle Allen led the Lions with 11 kills.