TAMPA — Plant completed its regular season without dropping a game to a district opponent. One match into the district tournament, that trend continues.
Behind their big hitters, the Panthers had little trouble in the Class 6A, District 8 semifinals, sweeping Brandon 25-17, 25-15, 25-20 Wednesday.
Plant, the defending Class 6A state champion, will host tournament No. 2 seed Bloomingdale in the district final tonight at 7. Bloomingdale advanced after holding off Wharton 25-18, 15-18, 24-26, 15-25, 15-12.
“We’re just excited to finally be playing districts,” said coach Leanna Taylor, who guided the Panthers to consecutive titles at the 5A level from 2006-09.
“We feel like it’s another opportunity for us.”
Brandon’s brief 1-0 lead to start the match evaporated under the pounding from Plant hitters Paige Tuttle, Brynne Fruhmorgen, Callie Henley and Alex Johnson.
After quickly falling in the first two games, Brandon made a brief charge in the match’s final game. The Eagles rallied from a 7-0 deficit to get as close as 19-15 before the Panthers pulled away.
Johnson finished with 24 kills, followed by Henley’s 11, Fruhmorgen’s nine and Tuttle’s seven. Setter Charlotte Hill posted 26 digs.
In the opening match, Katie Fife had 19 kills, Nicole Higgins had 16 and Danielle Jenkins added 15 as Bloomingdale fought off
Wharton’s comeback challenge and held on for the five-game victory.