TAMPA — Saturday’s championship match of the Academy of the Holy Names Volleyball Invitational had all the ingredients of a thriller.
Durant and host Holy Names, two of the top programs in Hillsborough County this season, entered the match undefeated. Two of the top outside hitters in Florida, Holy Names’ Courtney Vogler and Durant’s Lexi Thompson, were going head to head. And Cougars’ coach Brittany Wilson-Wade was an assistant at Holy Names while Jeff Davis, Holy Names’ coach, directed the Durant program for a few years.
In the end, Durant took control in the third set to win the match, 25-23, 23-25, 15-9.
“This is going to help us in the postseason,” Wilson-Wade said. “This was an amazing tournament.”
The tournament field included Plant, Tampa Prep, East Lake, Robinson, Tampa Catholic and Seffner Christian, all playoff teams in 2012.
Thompson, who verbally committed to Ole Miss, led Durant (7-0) with 11 kills and 10 digs while Victoria Fanning added nine kills.
“It’s huge,” Thompson said. “It means Durant is back.”
Durant went 25-8 last season, yet missed the playoffs.
“We want respect from everybody,” Wilson-Wade said.
Vogler, a junior who is already committed to North Carolina, led Holy Names (5-1) with 14 kills.
“I felt like we made a lot of unforced errors,” Davis said. “Give Durant credit, they were ready and they made more plays.”
Plant defeated Tampa Catholic, 25-17, 25-14, to win the third-place match.