ST. PETERSBURG — St. Stephen's coach Nancy Cothron had high praise for the Northside Christian serving attack — and that was before the Mustangs eliminated Keswick Christian with 18 aces on Tuesday.
St. Stephen's (14-11) defeated Shorecrest 25-15, 25-21, 25-19 to reach the Class 2A, District 11 final. In the other semifinal, Northside Christian (20-6) won 25-5, 25-13, 25-10.
"They are a pretty strong serving team," Cothron said of the Mustangs. "They hit the seams really well, so we'll have to be on the ball."
Cothron was basing her comments on past experiences against the Mustangs. After St. Stephen's left the gym, Northside Christian provided more proof of its offensive attack. Four players had at least three aces each. Katie Triana, a junior, led the way with six, and appropriately served the final seven points in Game 3 to go from an 18-10 lead to a three-game sweep.
"I was just thinking one point at a time and making sure each one of my serves was something they couldn't play off of," she said. "We did good (as a team) picking out holes while we were serving. We saw how they were playing and kind of adjusted."
Tiffany Boyer had five aces, Kayla Turner had four aces and Callie Hasko had three. Hasko and Jennica Mullins also had 12 kills each.
St. Stephen's was 0-for-6 in games against the Mustangs this season. The Falcons will rely on Morgan Johnson, who had nine kills and five blocks in the semis.