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Region volleyball preview

By Rodney Page
BRANDON - Tampa Bay HEAT senior libero Emma Westra (left) celebrates a winning point with middle hitter Abigail Casiano during a Class 3A regional semifinal Thursday night against visiting Orlando Faith Christian. The HEAT ended up winning the match 25-20, 25-14, 25-22. Taken 10-26-17 by Scott Purks

Region semifinals

All games at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Admission is $7.

Class 8A

St. Petersburg (15-9) at Palm Harbor University (17-4): The Hurricanes will try to make it three straight against the Green Devils. In the previous two matches, PHU won all six games. It will take a big effort by the Green Devils to not make that happen again. Junior outside hitter Jessica Angelou has 213 kills and is hard to stop. Junior libero Zeena Khazander is one of the best defensive players in the area. St. Petersburg also has a top-notch libero in junior Jill Kilgroe. Sophomore Julia Gilby has been good at the net. The winner gets either Venice or Manatee. Either team is good enough to win a state championship.

Wharton (16-4) at Plant (18-5): A rematch of the 8A-8 district final. Plant won that match 3-0 and has won four straight matches in straight sets. Junior Camryn Vogler is tough to deal with, but Birdie Frierson, Elizabeth Price and Cody Murray have also played well. Senior Bailey Wilson is the top defender. Wharton junior Amara Eziakonwa and sophomore Jeanette Henderson lead the Wildcats offensively. The Panthers have won all six games in the two matches against Wharton this season.



Class 7A

Land OíLakes (18-9) at Mitchell (21-8): This could be the most entertaining matchup Wednesday. The Mustangs needed five games to get by the Gators in the district final. Land OíLakes handed King just its second loss of the season last week to force a rematch. Senior Sydney Hiner leads the team with 213 kills. Mitchell must also account for freshman Brette Heymann. Mitchell has been a little banged up but has still found ways to win. Junior Kennedy Deluca and senior Jessie Mooney have been solid.



Class 6A

Fivay (23-3) at Weeki Wachee (15-12): The Falcons have won 17 straight and will be hard to stop in this one. The Hornets have played well recently, including a 3-2 win over Nature Coast to win the district title. Brooke Sereda is awfully good as an outside hitter and will have to continue to play well. Fivay has been led by Kirbea Harrell (355 kills) and that wonít change now. The Hornets are going to have to play some good defense to hang around in this one.

Sebring (26-3) at Robinson (23-7): The Knights have not really been tested since the district tournament started. That could change against Sebring. Freshman Mila Yarich has been a welcome addition with 184 kills. Junior Kristin Werdine has 169 kills. Senior Christiana Rolack has 66 blocks. Sebring started the season by winning 17 straight. The Blue Streaks have only lost 11 sets all season. Junior Jade Sinness (195 kills) is the top offensive player.

Naples Lely (13-8) at Tarpon Springs (20-6): The Spongers lost to Lely 3-2 in last yearís region semifinals, so they will be extra motivated in this match. They are playing much better this year. Tarpon hasnít lost a set since the district tournament began. Lely is coming off a 3-1 win over Dunedin in the region quarterfinal.



Class 5A

Fort Myers Bishop Verot (20-5) at Berkeley Prep (26-2): The Bucs were eliminated by Bishop Verot last season. They havenít lost a match since the tournament in Chicago on Sept. 29, a stretch of 16 matches. Senior Amanda Phegley will play a big role at the net. Libero Frances Perez 463 digs to lead the defense. Junior Sophia Shahriari and senior Selina Pfuner each have over 200 kills for Bishop Verot.



Region finals

Class 4A

Shorecrest (13-9) at Carrollwood Day (22-2): Hard to imagine many teams playing better than the Patriots right now. Hitters Ally-Reese Williams and Gabriela Quarles are a handful for any team. Senior setter Kendel Saigol has 874 assists. Shorecrest junior Jacqueline St. Cin has 353 kills and is the Chargersí first option. Shorecrest lost to Carrollwood Day in the district final 3-1.



Class 3A

Tampa Bay HEAT (21-2) at Leesburg First Academy (21-6): The HEAT has won 11 straight matches. It hasnít lost a set in more than five matches. An experienced team, 10 of the 11 players are either juniors or seniors. Junior Abigail Casiano has 247 kills to lead the offense. Seniors Madison Lee and Emma Westra both have 288 digs. Senior Allison Rogers has 688 assists as the setter. First Academy has won seven straight. Senior Skylar Martin leads the team with 378 kills.