Tarpon Springs hadn’t won the Keswick Invitational volleyball tournament since 1990 to coach Patrick Sneed’s best estimation.
So Sneed used that fact to motivate his team after the Spongers dropped their first game of the season in a hard-fought final against Bayshore Christian.
The tactic worked masterfully. Tarpon Springs rocked Bayshore Christian in the second game and rallied to defeat the Faith Warriors 24-26, 25-8, 15-9 on Saturday to win its first Keswick Invitational championship in 21 seasons.
Tarpon Springs (9-0) went 5-0 during the tournament, defeating St. Petersburg, Lakeside Christian and Calvary Christian – all in two games – during pool play. The Spongers edged Canterbury in a close match 25-21, 25-21 in the gold bracket semifinal before coming from behind in the final against Bayshore Christian.
“I told my team ‘I’ve never had a zero in the loss column on our record this far into the season,’” Sneed said. “We’ve got some really tough matches ahead. We play East Lake on Wednesday. I’m excited to see how well we can hang with them.”
Tarpon Springs’ 6-foot-1 junior middle hitter Ashlyn MacGregor was named the most valuable player of the 28th annual Keswick Invitational. Also making the all-tournament team from Tarpon Springs were senior setter Jenn Smith and sophomore outside hitter Kelsi Collins.
“Kelsi’s usually more of a defensive person for us, but she had a lot of smart hits and put the ball where the other team wasn’t,” Sneed said.