LAND O’LAKES — Teamwork was Cambridge Christian’s strength and its weakness against host Academy at the Lakes on Tuesday, according to Lancers coach Dave Wolcott.
The Lancers secured a region berth after a 25-18, 25-18, 25-20 shutout of the Wildcats in the Class 2A, District 7 semifinals. They’ll face top-seeded Tampa Bay HEAT on Thursday.
When one area of Cambridge’s lineup was strong, the others followed suit. But the reverse was also true, the coach said.
“There’s a synergy that comes when you play together,” he added.
Though the Lancers led a majority of the match, the Wildcats (8-17) took the first couple of points in each set and pushed back at the end to narrow the gap.
Both sides fought for the lead in Game 1, but the Lancers (10-13) plunged ahead for good at 15-14. AATL scored a few points with a block by Lauren Evans and a couple of Cambridge errors.
The Lancers led 24-12 in Game 2, but a kill by Evans and more errors on the Cambridge side let the Wildcats pull to 25-18.
After taking the lead in the third set at 3-2, Cambridge kept it the rest of the match. Academy scored points at the end with a block by Evans and Julia Mollick, but it wasn’t enough.
Wolcott said his outside hitters carry the team and setter Katherine Dykes’s leadership was praised.
Outside hitter Grace Nelson led the Lancers with 12 kills, and outside hitter Lauren Steinle had nine. Dykes had 25 assists.
All but three players on the Cambridge team are underclassmen. Wolcott said his team is young, but its talent is already evident.
“We’ve shown flashes of brilliance,” Wolcott said. “We just need to put it together.”
Mary Kenney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @maryknews.