TAMPA — Top-seeded Canterbury needed 66 minutes to beat Lakeside Christian on Tuesday, one less than No. 2 Cambridge required in its victory over Keswick Christian.
Expect things to be just as close when they meet for the Class A, District 9 volleyball championship.
The Crusaders won 25-19, 25-18, 25-21, while the Lancers prevailed 25-18, 25-15, 25-8. The title match is at 6 p.m. Thursday.
“I expect a good strong game from athletes with a lot of rallies,” Cambridge coach Dave Wolcott said. “That ‘want-to’ is going to be the skill that wins in the end.”
Canterbury beat Cambridge in last year’s district finale, but lost a rematch in the region semifinals. In their lone meeting this season, Canterbury won in four games.
“We’ve made a lineup change (after that loss), putting Caitlin Carr in a blocking role on the opposite (right) side and Susan Bealor to outside hitter,” Wolcott said. “I can’t imagine that a single switch in a defense could make so much of a difference.”
Hitters Amber Rubright and Olivia Yeager combined for 19 blocks, and setter Tinsley Zentmeyer orchestrated the offense against Keswick.
“We just had one of those days where everything fell apart,” Keswick coach Karrmayne King said.
Canterbury, led by Megan Burgess, needed a late run to close out Lakeside Christian, which was within 21-20 in the final game.
“Lakeside played really well and was riding a little bit of adrenaline (from Monday’s win over Carrollwood Day),” Canterbury coach John Milkovich said. “They never gave up.”