PLANT CITY — As Bloomingdale coach Danielle Leffler puts it, the Bulls used to be the team most opponents assumed they would beat.
It appears those days are over.
Despite dropping the opening game Tuesday against Plant City, the Bulls won their sixth match in their past seven with a 20-15, 25-8, 25-12, 25-22 win over the Raiders.
“We’re a team that in the past has been looked over but now teams are preparing to play us instead of the game after us,” Leffler said. “We’ve definitely done a lot to make a name for ourselves in the county.”
Senior outside hitter Danielle Jenkins led the Bulls (10-2) with 15 kills, while middle hitter Brittany Stirling (nine kills), Katie Fife (nine kills) and middle hitter Nicole Higgins (eight kills) paced a balanced Bloomingdale attack. Libero Sammi Klemp had 19 digs and setter Megan Guerra tallied 32 assists.
“We have improved so much from last year and I think we are making a statement,” Jenkins said. “We have a lot more confidence.”
After a sloppy, error-filled the first game, Bloomingdale dominated the rest of the match, running out to a 17-4 lead in Game 2. From there, they never looked back.
Plant City made a run late in Game 4, coming with one at 23-22, but a long attack gave the Bulls the gap they needed to pull away.
“We made at least 15 errors (in the first game),” Leffler said. “When you make 15 errors, it’s hard to win a game that you’re basically giving away. After that last game we were able to eliminate over half of our errors, which made it easier on our end.”
After going 4-1 in district play so far and beating Holy Names in the HCC Invitational, confidence it peaking for the Bulls. Bloomingdale’s only losses are to Plant and Lakewood, and the Bulls are looking forward to next week’s district rematch with the Panthers on Tuesday.
But first they had to be resilient against a tough Plant City team.
“These games are more important because we can lose so much by losing it than we can gain by winning,” Leffler said. “It was important just for the morale and the pride of our team.”
Senior libero Alix Hooker had 19 digs and five kills for Plant City (7-2), while Courtney Hunt had a team-high 10 kills. Analise Coffee tallied nine kills and Allie Goodrich added nine digs.