TAMPA — Tampa Prep coach Mike Flynn practices pressure situations, like the one his Terrapins faced against Indian Rocks Christian on Tuesday night.
That attention to detail paid off for the Terrapins (12-15), who scored eight of the final nine points for a 25-23, 21-25, 22-25, 25-19, 15-13 victory over the Golden Eagles (23-7) to advance to Saturday’s Class 2A region final.
“What an amazing team Indian Rocks Christian is (and) what an amazing coach Mark Foster is,” Flynn said. “We were very fortunate to come out with the win.”
IRC has lost in the region semifinals the past five years; the past four losses have been to Tampa Prep. The Eagles led 12-7 in the fifth game, but the Terrapins dominated after that. Ericka McGriff’s block of a Madi Loebel hit at the end ended the match that lasted two hours, nine minutes.
“(In practice), we have pressure situations where we can go and react,” Flynn said. “As soon as we start to see the players get a little shaky, we apply more pressure because that’s what our opponent is going to do.”
Foster noticed a change down the stretch.
“(Tampa Prep) became more aggressive and we got a little passive as opposed to finishing our game,” he said. “This is the first time we’ve ever been this close to going to state and to lose 15-13 kind of stinks.”
In the fourth game, IRC was serving at 18-all when a penalty point was called against the Eagles for being out of rotation. Tampa Prep scored seven of the next eight points to force the fifth game.