ST. PETERSBURG — For nearly two games Monday, it appeared Bayshore Christian would continue its dominance over Keswick Christian.
The Faith Warriors, a region finalist a year ago, found open spots for service aces and kills to build a commanding 20-4 lead in the first game en route to a 25-12 victory. The second game was similar to the first, at least in the beginning as Bayshore Christian built a 17-10 lead.
Then Crusaders coach Karrmayne King called a time out. She pleaded with her players to dive for balls, to move their feet, to make something happen.
Keswick Christian rallied to twice tie the second before falling 25-23. Trailing by two games, the Crusaders won the next three for a stunning 12-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-15, 15-13 victory.
It was the first time the Crusaders had beaten Bayshore Christian in more than six seasons.
“We had homecoming last week, and I wondered how we would come out for this match,” King said. “We started flat. I had to encourage them to make things happen instead of waiting for it to come to them.”
After winning the third and fourth games, Keswick Christian (17-1) fell behind 6-1 in the fifth. But a block and a kill by Sarah Trill helped the Crusaders go on a run to go up 10-8. The Crusaders never trailed after that.
Alexa Dietz had 14 kills and Trill had nine blocks to lead Keswick. Madison Schmidt had a team-high 13 kills and four blocks for the Faith Warriors (7-5).
“We’re a young team, and we haven’t learned how to play at an even keel,” Bayshore Christian coach Melanie Humenansky said.