LUTZ — Steinbrenner will have to wait another year for a chance to take the Class 7A region crown, falling to nationally-ranked Venice 25-12, 25-11, 25-16 Saturday afternoon.
“They are ranked No. 3 in the state and we’re ranked 57th,” Steinbrenner coach Laura Stegenga said. “They did a great job. I know that they worked hard, and I want them to be proud of themselves.”
Brooke Royals had 20 assists for the Warriors, helping set up 11 kills for Madison Seuzeneau and six for Rachel Mathison. But the power of Danika Yoder and Holly Mattmuller in front of the net — with 23 assists and 14 kills, respectively — killed Steinbrenner’s momentum more than once.
While this was Steinbrenner’s fourth trip to the region finals in as many years, Stegenga was quick to point out that it was the first trip for many of her girls.
“They’ve never been here,” she said. “Venice has. And we need to work on emotions and handling pressure situations. ”
Some of those emotions cleared away by the third set where Steinbrenner (19-9) had a 12-11 advantage at one point.
That momentum ended quickly as Venice (27-3) rattled off four straight points, helped by a block from Lauren Mattmuller that gave the Indians a lead they never relinquished.
“When we first played them, we barely got 15 points on them, and we were extremely frazzled,” Stegenga said. “We got a lot of work to do, but I have a very young team, and I look forward to working with them.”