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4A-9 volleyball: Lennard breaks through, into playoffs

TAMPA — Shannon Tichy remembers her first season at Lennard in 2006.

The Longhorns didn't win a match.

And in the two years since, the struggles have continued as they had to compete in a district that featured local powers like Berkeley Prep and Academy of the Holy Names.

Needless to say, the Longhorns were bashed.

"In the face," Tichy said.

But Wednesday night, the Longhorns broke through, scrapping their way past Robinson and into the region playoffs with a 25-16, 25-20, 23-25, 25-15 victory in the Class 4A, District 9 semifinals at Jefferson.

Tonight, they will meet the class of the district — Steinbrenner, a winner over Strawberry Crest 25-9, 25-15, 25-12 — for the championship.

Steinbrenner has been the antithesis of Lennard — in their first year of existence, the Warriors, who have benefitted from a number of transfers from Sickles, Gaither and Alonso, have won 20 games.

In their existence, Lennard hasn't reached that total yet.

Still, the Longhorns, 7-8 under first-year coach Dara Whelan, are thrilled to be going to the postseason, regardless of tonight's result. The team has six seniors, most of whom played in that first winless season.

"We've come from not winning any games to this," said Tichy. "It was hard that first season, but we thought we would get better."

"We have, every year, gotten a little better," said senior Shelby Sanchez, who had a team-best six kills.

Steinbrenner, which had its 13-match winning streak snapped last week by Chamberlain but has won 42 of its past 46 sets, was led by Kristen Liguori, who had six kills and six aces.

Lennard def>> Robinson

25-16, 25-20, 23-25, 25-15

4A-9 volleyball: Lennard breaks through, into playoffs 10/28/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 11:20pm]
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