HomeTeam 15: Volleyball power rankings, Week 3

Land O'Lakes' Brette Heymann (9) strikes the ball while being challenged by Countryside's Allie Grambala. (DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times)
Land O'Lakes' Brette Heymann (9) strikes the ball while being challenged by Countryside's Allie Grambala. (DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times)
Published September 4 2018

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).