Sunday, September 23, 2018

HomeTeam 15: Volleyball power rankings, Week 3

Elite status

1. Plant (3-0)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Leto, Thursday at Bloomingdale

Last week's spot: No. 1

Why they stayed put: The Panthers haven't lost a game in three matches. Class 8A, District 8 play starts this week against Leto. They do have tournaments at Venice and Orlando Bishop Moore later in the season. Those tournaments likely will provide the biggest challenge in the regular season.

2. Palm Harbor University (4-0)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Tarpon Springs

Last week's spot: No. 4

Why they moved up: The Hurricanes so far have overcome the loss of top hitter Jessica Angelo, who transferred to Bishop McLaughlin. Katy Cameron and Kylie White have played well up front. Malia Barker already has 13 aces and libero Zeena Khazendar has 68 digs to lead the defense. One match this week, but it's a good one against the Spongers.

3. Robinson (3-0)

Up next: Tuesday at Wharton, Thursday vs. Spoto

Last week's spot: No. 3

Why they stayed put: A four-game win over Bloomingdale was followed by a sweep of Middleton last week. Wharton will be the big match this week. Senior outside hitter Kristin Werdine, who recently committed to Clarkson University in New York, has 36 kills early in the season. Sophomore Mila Yarich has also been a threat at the net.

4. St. Petersburg (4-0)

Up next: Sept. 11 at Seminole

Last week's spot: No. 7

Why they moved up: The Green Devils thought they would be pretty good this season, and last week proved it. They defeated East Lake and Tarpon Springs to remain undefeated. Junior Julia Gilby has been the go-to hitter so far with 45 kills. The few weeks are light until they play in the Keswick Invitational.

5. Nature Coast (5-0)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Hudson, Thursday at Crystal River, Saturday vs. Citrus

Last week's spot: No. 8

Why they moved up: The season started with a 3-2 win over Springstead. Since then, the Sharks haven't lost a game. They are already 3-0 in Class 6A, District 7. Madison Clark leads the offense with 59 kills. She also has 52 digs.

Next tier

6. Bishop McLaughlin (3-0)

Up next: Friday-Saturday at Bishop McLaughlin tournament

Last week's spot: No. 13

Why they moved up: The Hurricanes took a trip to the Keys last week and swept both Marathon and Key West. Now they host a tournament. The duo of Jessica Angelo and Audrey Koenig has worked well at the net so far.

7. Clearwater Central Catholic (2-0)

Up next: Tuesday at Sarasota Cardinal Mooney

Last week's spot: No. 10

Why they moved up: The Marauders haven't played much early in the season, but when they have, they have looked good. Linsey Harrison is a legitimate hitter who leads the offense. Sophomore Kasey Singer has 11 aces in six games. Freshman Victoria Hensley has fit in at setter and has 56 assists. Cardinal Mooney is a Class 5A, District 9 opponent.

8. Wharton (3-1)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Robinson, Thursday vs. Freedom

Last week's spot: No. 6

Why they moved down: Last week ended with a 3-0 loss to Plant. No shame in that. It gets just as difficult against Robinson this week. Freedom is a Class 8A, District 8 opponent, the first district match this season. Junior Jeanette Henderson, senior Amara Eziakonwa, junior Lexi Morse and senior Devyn Kettner have played well up front so far.

9. Newsome (6-3)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Durant, Thursday at Alonso

Last week: Unranked

Why they moved up: The Wolves lost their first match of the Cardinal Mooney tournament, which was their third straight loss, and didn't lose again. They defeated Tampa Catholic in the championship match, 2-0. Alonso is a Class 9A, District 6 match this week, which is fairly important after a loss to district foe Sarasota Riverview earlier in the season.

10. Shorecrest (3-1)

Up next: Tuesday at Cambridge Christian

Last week's spot: No. 11

Why they stayed down: The Chargers advanced to the final of the Warrior Invitational last weekend at Calvary Christian. Cambridge Christian is a district match, so the Chargers would like to get off to a good start in a very difficult district.

Hanging in there

11. Sunlake (4-0)

Up next: Thursday at Mitchell

Last week's spot: Unranked

Why they moved up: The Seahawks have only lost one game in four matches. Mitchell is a district match and a win could go a long way in the four-team district. Freshman Kylie Ciani has made an instant impact with 39 kills. Junior Caroline Schoonover has 30 kills.

12. Land O’Lakes (4-1)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Zephyrhills, Thursday vs. Springstead, Friday-Saturday at Bishop McLaughlin tournament

Last week's spot: No. 14

Why they moved up: The Gators stumbled a bit with a 3-2 loss to Countryside on Thursday. A busy week awaits. Springstead is a Class 7A, District 8 opponent and the weekend tournament will test the Gators' depth.

13. Tarpon Springs (3-2)

Up next: Tuesday at Palm Harbor University, Wednesday vs. Clearwater, Thursday vs. Bradenton Bayshore

Last week's spot: No. 12

Why they moved down: The schedule has been difficult to start the season. Last week the Spongers ran into a very good St. Petersburg, losing in four games. This week is just as difficult, with PHU and Clearwater back-to-back.

14. Calvary Christian (5-2)

Up next: Friday at Tampa Prep, Saturday at Orlando First Academy

Last week's spot: Unranked

Why they moved up: If the early season is any indication, the Warriors are going to be a difficult opponent. The two losses are to good teams, Palm Harbor University and Gainesville Rock Academy. Junior Cathryn Long has 86 kills and 60 kills to lead the team. Senior Grace Ball has 18 aces and junior Jennafer Long has 216 assists as the setter.

15. Tampa Catholic (5-3)

Up next: Tuesday at Tampa Prep, Thursday vs. Cypress Creek

Last week's spot: No. 15

Why they stayed put: The Crusaders have some quality wins early in the season and advanced to the final of the Cardinal Mooney tournament before losing to Newsome. They went 3-2 in the tournament. Senior Elissa Alcantara has 57 kills in 13 games played.

On the bubble

Clearwater (3-3), Berkeley Prep (3-4), Carrollwood Day (3-4), Academy of the Holy Names (3-1), Sickles (2-0), Fivay (1-1), Mitchell (2-1).

Football: Tampa Bay Tech 28, Hillsborough 27

Football: Tampa Bay Tech 28, Hillsborough 27

TAMPA — The decision was made as soon as Hillsborough got the ball back. Trailing by a touchdown with just over four minutes remaining against Tampa Bay Tech, the Terriers had the ball on their own 6-yard line.They hadn't been able to move the ...
Published: 09/22/18
Football: Clearwater 34, Mitchell 7

Football: Clearwater 34, Mitchell 7

TRINITY — What at first looked like a defensive stalemate between Clearwater and Mitchell quickly turned into a rout.Clearwater had revenge on its mind Friday night after a 45-28 loss to Mitchell last year during the the regular season. The Tor...
Published: 09/22/18
Football: Largo 35, Countryside 0

Football: Largo 35, Countryside 0

LARGO — The offense was relentless and merciless Friday night, but that has been the case a lot recently. Largo is scoring points in bunches and getting contributions from everyone. Add in a defense that has been smothering, as well as a special team...
Published: 09/22/18

Football: Armwood 24, Jefferson 14

SEFFNER — Armwood is becoming accustomed to winning close games.The Hawks fended off visiting Jefferson 24-14 in a defensive battle that featured a plethora of holding penalties in the second half.Armwood (3-1) earned two rushing touchdowns from juni...
Published: 09/21/18
Updated: 09/22/18

Football: Sickles 7, Freedom 3

TAMPA — Sickles needed a goal-line stand late in the fourth quarter to escape Freedom 7-3 on Homecoming and remain in the hunt for a Class 7A, District 8 title.Gryphons coach Patrick Murphy knew that facing the Patriots would be a battle. Freedom (1-...
Published: 09/21/18
Updated: 09/22/18

Football: Plant 44, Gaither 34

TAMPA — Seventy-eight points. Eight hundred and 40 yards in total offense. Five players surpassing the century mark in yardage.When the game was over Friday, Plant had the edge in every category — including the scoreboard as the Panthers (3-1) opened...
Published: 09/21/18

Football: Robinson 28, Blake 25

TAMPA — Nevermind that Blake scored a go-ahead touchdown with 87 seconds left in the game.Forgive him, but part of Robinson junior Lateef Al-Shaa’ir was hoping it would happen just so it would set up a comeback.And it did.With 24 seconds left in the ...
Published: 09/21/18

Football: St. Petersburg 23, Gibbs 6

ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg’s Aumhryaun Brown’s two touchdowns helped overcome the ejection of quarterback Tonio Shavers as the Green Devils cruised to a 23-6 win against Gibbs on Friday.As time expired during the first half, with the Green Devil...
Published: 09/21/18

Football: Plant City 24, East Bay 7

GIBSONTON — Plant City’s high-powered passing game gets most of the attention. But the Raiders’ defense is just as responsible for the team’s unbeaten start.In Plant City’s 24-7 road victory against East Bay in Class 7A, District 9 on Friday, the def...
Published: 09/21/18

Football: Clearwater Central Catholic 38, Northeast 17

ST. PETERSBURG — Championship caliber teams don’t cut themselves any slack.Just ask senior quarterback Rory Hicks, a tough grader moments after visiting Clearwater Central Catholic rolled out its textbook offensive precision to subdue Northeast, 38-1...
Published: 09/21/18