BRADENTON — Using its depth and height, Bradenton Christian advanced to its third region final since 2006, beating Seffner Christian 25-15, 25-22, 25-15 Tuesday.
Bradenton Christian (17-10) used the serving prowess of Madison Putnam to take a 6-0 lead in the first game. Seffner Christian drew within 14-11 before the Panthers reclaimed momentum with an 8-0 run.
Having fought back from the early deficit in Game 2, the Crusaders (12-11) appeared to be on the ropes at 22-12 before scoring seven consecutive points and 10 of the match’s next 11 points to move within 23-22.
In addition to inconsistency from the service line, Seffner Christian could not offset Bradenton Christian’s hitters. Junior Chynna Ratner and senior Maria DeKuiper finished the match with 11 and 10 kills, respectively.
“If you look over the court, you see the height difference between us and (the 5-foot-11 DeKuiper) and their other girls,” said Seffner Christian coach Kyle Bingham, whose team was 1-3 this season against the Panthers. “That was our big drawback. We tried to spread
it out and cover everything, but we couldn’t get everything.”
In the deciding game, with an 11-10 lead, the Panthers scored 14 of the final 19 points.