6A-8: Fivay regroups, rolls past Gulf
HUDSON – A disputed point involving a tip, turned into a tipping point in the Class 6A, District 8 final Thursday.
Fivay felt the officials erred ruling one of the Falcons touched a hit by Gulf's Casey James that landed well out. So much so that Falcons captain Hailey Lake, for the only time all night, went over to the head official to question the call. It stood, and Gulf stood with a good chance at leveling the match up 20-18 in the second set.
A timeout was in order.
"We thought it was a questionable call, whatever," said Fivay head coach Nikki Pollock. "When something like that happens I like to call timeout. I told them, 'Take a breath, it's just one point, and it's gone. Focus on what you need to do, not outside circumstances.'"
Well done by Pollock and Fivay, which scored the next seven points and rolled to a 25-9, 25-20, 25-15 victory over the visiting Buccaneers, who still are headed to the playoffs for the first time in 17 years.
Lake served the final six points of the run as Fivay (21-4) took advantage of Caitlin Wade, one of Gulf's 5-foot-11 middle duo along with James, being on the bench.
"If we would've won that (set), we would've kept winning. Usually when we get on a roll we stay on it," Wade said.
Lake, who had two aces during the run and five overall including the match ender, was second on the Falcons with eight kills.
"We usually get fazed in situations like that. We needed the timeout. We all just said, 'Let it go,'" said Lake.
Fivay romped in the first set, with five players – Lake, Kirbea Harrell, Cierra Ridgely, Quinn Church, Taylor Berryhill – suppliying three three kills apiece.
Gulf, the No. 3 seed that knocked off No. 2 Ridgewood in Wednesday's semifinals, overcame a 13-10 deficit in the second set as James served a pair of aces. Two Wade kills made it 16-15. But Lake's strong serving, and one of five blocks by Church, helped key the Falcons' run.
Church added seven kills.
"Our offense was pretty well rounded tonight, much more spread out than normal. And Quinn had a lot of big blocks against their middles," Pollock said.
Harrell finished with a team-high nine kills while Ridgely and Berryhill ended with five apiece. Even the passing was spread out, with both Torrie Berryhill and Madison Kachurak going for double-digit assists. Fine libero Lindsey Christianson led with 21 digs while Harrell added 15.
For Gulf, James and White posted eight kills each and Alyssa Abrams contributed four. Setter Shelby Patterson had 18 assists as well as leading the way with digs (16).
"Nobody thought we could make the playoffs, but we knew we could," James said.
Gulf heads to Weeki Wachee for next week's region opener while Fivay will host Crystal River.