Steinbrenner High School has now been open for five volleyball seasons. After its 25-20, 25-31, 31-33, 25-21 win against Wiregrass ranch in the Class 7A, District 8 championship match Friday, the Warriors have now taken the title every year they’ve existed.
Top-seeded Steinbrenner beat No. 4 Sickles 3-0 in Wednesday’s semifinal to earn its fifth straight championship match berth. And though the Warriors are certainly familiar with the feeling of being champions, coach Laura Stegenga said the win wasn’t any less sweet.
“It’s a new team every year, and they have different accomplishments every year,” she said. “They should be proud of themselves every year.”
Outside hitter Avery Bradshaw led the Warriors with 26 kills against the Bulls, who Steinbrenner beat twice in the regular season. The sets were close Friday. It was libero Casey McLean, Stegenga said, who helped the Warriors distance themselves later.
“We were neck and neck 18, and when we got in the 20s, she just broke us through with her serve,” Stegenga said of McLean, who ended the night with four aces. “I do remember her being very aggressive with her serve, not being timid, and that really paid off.”
The Warriors are quite familiar with the playoffs. But in each of their five times competing in the postseason, they have yet to walk away with a region title. Last season Steinbrenner played in the final against Venice, but lost in three sets.
Another district championship, Stegenga said, puts the Warriors one step closer to realizing a dream that, so far, has been unattainable.
“They want a regional title on that banner,” she said. “They’ve just got to keep working hard, and hopefully that can come true for us.”