TAMPA — Every senior night includes a certain amount of finality, but for the three Tampa Prep seniors who were honored before their final home match Tuesday against Academy of the Holy Names, it felt far from the end.
“It didn’t feel like that at all,” senior outside hitter Ericka McGriff said. “Maybe it’s because of the way Coach (Mike) Flynn is. He’s like, ‘It’s not over yet. It will be over in three or four weeks when we’re in Lakeland.’ ”
The Terrapins came into the night with a 7-15 record — playing a tough schedule full of some of the state’s top teams — but finished their regular season with a convincing three-game win over the Jaguars, 25-22, 25-13, 25-22.
For Tampa Prep, it was a final tuneup before next week’s district tournament, the first step toward the Terps’ third straight state tournament and first championship since 2004.
That test included facing one of the county’s top hitters in Holy Names freshman Sidney Brown.
“I think that we have seen everything we can see,” Flynn said. “We’ve seen really good outsides. We’ve seen good middles. We’ve seen good setters. Because of that we’re prepared to, if we need, we can kind of go back and see where we were then and go from there.”
McGriff led the Terps with a team-high 15 kills, and fellow senior outside hitter Gabby Fernandez added 10 kills and 15 digs. Junior setter Lauren Shlemon led Tampa Prep with 26 assists.
Determined to make it a quick night, the Terrapins (8-15) rallied from a 15-9 third-game deficit to win 16 of the match’s final 23 points, mostly thanks to the attacking of the senior duo of McGriff and Fernandez.
“It was focus,” Fernandez said. “We have to constantly be in motion to get stuff done. Finally we decided that’s what we wanted to do.”
Holy Names (16-7) was without two starters, junior middle/right side Brynn Wiley and freshman libero Molly Snyder. Jaguars coach Kevin Reynolds said he hopes both will be back by Holy Names’ district tournament opener against Clearwater Central Catholic on Tuesday.
“This match was a good test because I think CCC is going to be similar, at least in the consistency and the level of play,” Reynolds said. “I wish we could have come out a little bit better in the end, but I think playing Prep definitely prepares us better for next week.”
Brown led Holy Names with a team-high 14 kills and seven digs. Senior Annie Swanson had a team-high 17 digs for the Jaguars.