TAMPA — Sickles’ romp through the postseason came to an abrupt end Wednesday night.
The Gryphons didn’t drop a set in the district tournament, but Charlotte quickly brought an end to that dominance in the region quarterfinals, ending Sickles’ season with a 3-0 sweep (25-15, 27-25, 25-11).
“Sometimes when you walk into the gym and you can see the way they’re warming up, you can see the intensity in their eyes. You can just see the focus,” Sickles coach Rob Brashear said. “It was there; you could tell they wanted to play to win. But it wasn’t like, ‘We’re going to demand this win.’ That was the biggest thing to me.”
Brashear singled out the Gryphons’ passing as their biggest flaw, noting that it was one of the team’s worst passing performances of the season. Sickles (16-11) improved on that in the second game, and along with improved front-line play and blocking, it was almost enough to turn the tide. But the Fightin’ Tarpons (22-4) held on to win, demoralizing the Gryphons before cruising to an easy Game 3 victory.
“I feel like if we had passed better, we would have given them a run for their money — if not taken it from them,” Brashear said. “I don’t think we would have won in three, but I think we would have done better than that.”
Regardless of the season-ending defeat, Brashear said his team was pleased with its season overall, as the Gryphons won their first district title since 2007 — their primary objective since the season began.
“I’m happy. Their goal this season was to win districts and go as far as they could in the playoffs,” Brashear said. “I told them to just put their best foot forward. They gave it their effort, it just wasn’t their best day today, and they know that.”