The celebration will continue for the Plant and Bayshore Christian volleyball teams, the only Hillsborough County volleyball teams to have won state championships this season, as players and coaches were honored by The Florida Dairy Farmers on Wednesday.
Plant senior setter Kellie Catanach and Plant coach Leanna Taylor were named the Class 5A Player and Coach of the Year while Bayshore Christian senior outside hitter Jannica Mollett and Coach Melanie Humenansky were named 1A Player and Coach of the Year.
Catanach (6-foot-2), who will play for Duke in the fall, led Plant with 714 assists, 130 kills, 215 digs and 62 aces.
"It's a great honor," Catanach said. "There have been some great players to win that award so it's awesome."
Catanach is also a finalist for Florida Gatorade Player of the Year.
Taylor, who won the award last year, guided the Panthers to their second consecutive state title and seventh overall. Plant finished the season 31-1 and ranked No. 17 in the Century Club National Top 100 Poll.
"It's pretty unbelievable," Taylor said. "I have to pinch myself. I can't believe I'm in this position to coach this program."
Mollett (5-9) led the Faith Warriors to the program's fourth title and ended her season with 413 kills, 341 digs and 39 blocks.
A former Dairy Farmers Coach of the Year recipient, Humenansky led Bayshore to a 28-5 record and the No. 2 ranking in the final 1A state poll.
"I was excited to get that phone call [Tuesday]," Humenansky said. "And for one of our girls to be recognized, from the entire state of Florida, is a huge recognition."
Catanach and Mollett are now finalists for the Florida Dairy Farmers Miss Volleyball award while Taylor and Humenansky are finalists for Volleyball Coach of the Year. Durant coach Dawn Hough finished second in votes for 6A Coach of the Year while Berkeley Prep coach Randy Dagostino finished third in votes for 3A Coach of the Year.
TO SERVE AND PROTECT: A quarterback on his back? For an offensive lineman, there is nothing worse. Plant's offensive line witnessed that scene eight times in its Week 1 loss to Armwood.
The Panthers have made several adjustments and changes since then to ensure that doesn't happen again when the two teams meet Friday night. This week at practice they've tinkered with the snap count and tweaked other things - anything to give them an advantage against an aggressive and physical Armwood pass rush.
"We're a lot different. We've jelled together," offensive lineman Rhonne Sanderson said. "We've gotten better at picking up blitzes and we've been working hard. It's basically better because we know each other better."
Having running back Lovell Jackson in the game should also help. Jackson missed the second half of the Week 1 game with a sprained ankle. With him back on the field, Armwood will have to respect the running game and won't be able to tee off on quarterback Aaron Murray like they did in the previous meeting.
"We've watched hours of film and saw the mistakes that we made, so it shouldn't happen again," Sanderson said.
FOSTER SIGNS WITH FIU: Sickles swimmer Carrie Foster has signed with Florida International University, Gryphons girls coach Fay Went said.
Foster swam in the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relays at the 3A state meet. The 400 relay won the consolation championship.
RECRUITING UPDATES: Hillsborough football coach Earl Garcia said defensive backs Chuck Grace (5-10, 185 pounds) and Andreas Ashwood (6-1, 200) will visit Toledo this weekend. Garcia also said senior offensive lineman Charlie Hughlett (6-4, 230) has received interest from The Citadel.
Blake coach Sean Washington said senior offensive lineman Vittorio Ottanelli (6-4, 290) is receiving more interest by the week, with New Mexico, Murray State, The Citadel and Colgate being added to a long list of schools that include Duke and North Carolina.
Middleton quarterback De'Andre Presley is also receiving more interest. Middleton coach Harry Hubbard said coaches from Tennessee State, Bucknell, The Citadel and Akron have inquired about Presley (1,128 yards, 10 TDs). Hubbard said running back Carlton Jones (5-11, 220), who has interest from Florida, Florida State, LSU and Auburn to name a few, is still in the process of scheduling visits. Jones finished the season with 1,228 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.
Plant City offensive lineman Mark Popek (6-7, 300) picked up an offer from Vanderbilt this week, according to Coach Kevin Kelley, who said Popek also has been receiving interest lately from Florida.
Popek, an All-Western Conference first-team selection this season, has yet to take an official visit, and the list of schools courting his services also includes Cincinnati and Oklahoma State, among others, Kelley said.
VOLLEYBALL SIGNING: Ridgewood middle hitter Jen Daun will sign her letter-of-intent to attend Warner Southern College, located in Lake Wales, today. Daun's presence in the middle of the Rams lineup allowed the squad to make changes as needed this season and brought a level of excitement to the team's play, according to Coach Amber Starkey. Daun was a second-team All-Sunshine Athletic Conference selection.