ST. PETERSBURG — When seedings came out for the PCAC tournament, St. Petersburg earned the top spot. The Green Devils proved worthy of that seeding Wednesday night at Gibbs in PCAC pool play.
St. Petersburg swept Tarpon Springs 25-23, 25-20, 25-13 and followed that with a sweep of Dunedin, 25-18, 25-22, 25-20. The Green Devils will hold onto the No. 1 seed for the finals Oct. 16.
“Whenever you’re in a single-elimination tournament like this where you if you lose you don’t have a chance to play for the championship, everyone shows up ready to play,” Green Devils coach Alex Sevillano said. “Dunedin has great hitters on the outside, and (Patrick) Sneed is a great coach at Tarpon. They control the ball and don’t let it hit the floor much.”
The Green Devils (14-7) were pushed in both matches. Against Tarpon Springs (6-10), St. Petersburg scored the first four points but the Spongers scored the next four. It was that way through most of the game, but a kill by Carly Danner gave the Green Devils a two-point win.
In the second game, St. Petersburg had a 6-0 run and jumped out to a 14-8 lead. Tarpon Springs narrowed it to 21-18, but kills by Kaylan Marckese, Casey Houlton and Brooklyn Williams ended the game.
Tarpon Springs seemed to wear out in the third game, and the Green Devils scored the final nine points to put away the match.
“Kind of the story of our season,” Sneed said. “We play hard but we sometimes give up points in streaks.”
Like Tarpon Springs, Dunedin (4-10) was able to keep points alive and stay with St. Petersburg. The first game was close until the Green Devils went on a 5-0 run to make it 15-10 thanks to two aces from Tori Alexander and two Falcons errors. St. Petersburg closed it out on to the net play of Marckese and Houlton.
The second game went down the wire. Thanks to the net play of Katie Will, Dunedin stayed close and tied the game at 22. But the Green Devils closed it out on from Houlton and Natalie Danner. And in the third, St. Petersburg broke a 20-all tie by scoring the final five points.
“When it gets close and intense, you really want to pick it up,” Houlton said. “That was a big part of our success tonight. We’ve learned to be more consistent and keep the lead.”
In the other two matches, Dunedin beat Gibbs 25-6, 25-19, 25-4. Tarpon Springs beat Gibbs 25-11, 25-7, 25-9.