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TAMPA — Host Tampa Catholic survived a scare in the tournament final Saturday but beat Mitchell 25-16, 23-25, 15-9 to take its second straight Crusader Clash volleyball title.
After the Crusaders took the first game behind the combined nine kills from Sydney Blank, Rebecca Turbeville and Abby Zimroth, the Mustangs came to life in the second. Shayna Filippelli scored two kills and three digs while Lindsey Lane had three kills and Jessika Hester four digs to lead Mitchell.
"I told them at the end there that I didn't like that we slipped up in that second game," Tampa Catholic coach John Babbitt said. "By coming back, that's what real teams do."
Mitchell led 24-18 in the second game when Blank fought off game point with a kill just inside the line. Zimroth had a block and a kill as the Crusaders went on a run to pull within a point. However, Megan Simmons couldn't reach a bad set, forcing a deciding game.
From there, Blank and Turbeville took over, tallying six of the Crusaders' seven kills in the final-game victory.
The win gives the Crusaders confidence as they look ahead toward a late fall playoff push.
"I told them over the past couple weeks that the only reason why we're losing matches here and there is because of the little things, the fundamentals," Babbitt said. "We are going back to the basics. We're going to keep pushing those, and keep everyone on the same page as we get ready for districts."
Blank led the Crusaders with 11 kills, while Turbeville had eight kills and two blocks. For the Mustangs, Lane had four kills while Keysha Pagan recorded eight digs.