It’s the time of the year where two volleyball teams from each district move on while all the others must turn in their uniforms. Which teams survive to play another week? Here’s a breakdown of how we think it will play out:
Where: Various sites
Schedule: Tuesday: No. 4 St. Petersburg at No. 1 Palm Harbor University, 7; No. 3 Manatee at No. 2 Sarasota Riverview, 7; Thursday: final, 7 (higher seed hosts)
Breakdown: Palm Harbor U. has beaten St. Petersburg 3-0 in the past two meetings, including Wednesday night’s PCAC consolation match. The Hurricanes (18-7) have been relatively consistent this season behind the play of Naomi Mack, Jazmine Barker, Abby Walker and Ameije Ismaili. The Green Devils (16-9) seem to be fading a bit. They have lost three of their past four matches. But Casey Houlton and Kaylan Marckese are tough front-line players to deal with.
Prediction: Manatee is the district champion; PHU is the runnerup.
Schedule: Monday: No. 3 East Lake vs. No. 6 Pinellas Park, 5:30; No. 4 Countryside vs. No. 5 Northeast, 7:30. Wednesday: No. 1 Clearwater vs. Countryside-NE winner, 5:30; No. 2 Seminole vs. East Lake-Pinellas Park winner, 7:30; Thursday: final, 7
Breakdown: There aren’t many teams hotter than Clearwater. The Tornadoes are 22-5 and have won 19 of their past 21 matches. Sam Reeves is a menace at the net and setter Haley Barrett is one of the best in the county. Seminole vs. East Lake, which should be a semifinal match, is up for grabs. Both teams have been playing well, and East Lake was the PCAC runnerup.
Prediction: Clearwater is the district champion; East Lake is the runnerup.
Where: at Osceola
Schedule: Monday: No. 4 Largo vs. No. 5 Dixie Hollins, 6; Tuesday: No. 2 Osceola vs. No. 3 Springstead, 6; No. 1 Mitchell vs. Largo-Dixie Hollins winner, 8; Thursday: final, 7
Breakdown: Mitchell was 8-0 in district play, which clearly makes it the team to beat. The Mustangs haven’t lost since Sept. 7 to St. Petersburg. Osceola appears the clear No. 2, with its only two district losses coming against Mitchell. Hayley Misewich and Emily Barton have been a good one-two punch for the Warriors.
Prediction: Mitchell is the district champion; Osceola is the runnerup.
Where: at Anclote
Schedule: No. 1 Fivay vs. No. 8 Gulf, 6; No. 2 Anclote vs. No. 7 Land O’Lakes, 8; Tuesday: No. 4 Dunedin vs. No. 5 River Ridge, 6; No. 3 Sunlake vs. No. 6 Tarpon Springs, 8; Wednesday: Fivay-Gulf winner vs. Dunedin-River Ridge winner, 6; Anclote-Land O’Lakes winner vs. Sunlake-Tarpon winner, 8; Thursday: final, 7
Breakdown: This could be some tough sledding for the Pinellas schools. Dunedin has some talent, especially outside hitter Katie Will. And Tarpon Springs has gotten consistent play from Kelsie Collins and Allie Cullens. But Fivay is undefeated in the district and winner of 17 games. Anclote and Sunlake aren’t far behind.
Prediction: Anclote is the district champion; Fivay is the runnerup.
Where: Various sites
Schedule: No. 5 Gibbs at No. 4 Boca Ciega, 7; Wednesday: No. 3 Lakewood at No. 2 Bradenton Southeast, 7; Gibbs-Bogie winner at No. 1 Bradenton Bayshore, 7; Friday: final, 7 (higher seed hosts)
Breakdown: This appears to be an all-Bradenton final. Gibbs, Boca Ciega and Lakewood have all struggled this season and getting to the final would be a major upset.
Prediction: Bayshore is the district champion; Southeast is the runnerup.
Where: at Calvary Christian
Schedule: Monday: No. 4 St. Petersburg Catholic vs. No. 5 Indian Rocks Christian, 3:30; No. 3 Calvary vs. No. 6 Shorecrest, 5:30; No. 2 Northside Christian vs. No. 7 Admiral Farragut, 7:30; Tuesday: Calvary-Shorecrest winner vs. Northside-AFA winner, 5; No. 1 Clearwater Central Catholic vs. SPC-IRC winner, 7; Thursday: final, 7
Breakdown: Clearwater Central Catholic has its eyes on a state championship, and the district tournament won’t slow the Marauders. CCC has played some stiff competition season and come out of it with an 18-3 record prior to a weekend tournament in Fort Lauderdale. Calvary Christian pushed CCC to five games earlier in the season, and Northside Christian is much improved. But the battle in this district is for second.
Prediction: CCC is the district champion; Calvary Christian is the runnerup.
Where: at Keswick Christian
Schedule: Monday: No. 4 Hernando Christian vs. No. 5 Citrus Park Christian, 5; No. 3 Bayshore Christian vs. No. 6 Lakeside Christian, 6:30; Tuesday: No. 2 Canterbury vs. Bayshore-Lakeside winner, 5; No. 1 Keswick Christian vs. HCA-Citrus Park winner, 6:30; Thursday: final, 6:30
Breakdown: Keswick Christian and Canterbury are the class of the district. Both teams are well coached and have talented players. Madison Span leads the Crusaders with just over three kills per game. Taylor Bump and Samantha Burgess have been a good duo for Canterbury.
Prediction: Keswick Christian is the district champion; Canterbury is the runnerup.