TAMPA — Sometimes it takes years to build a championship team, but at first-year Steinbrenner, it took just a few months to make a winner.
And after the Warriors took just 45 minutes to dispatch Lennard in three games Thursday, 25-7, 25-6, 25-8, at Jefferson to win the school's first team championship, the only pressing question was where Steinbrenner's new hardware would go.
"I think we're going to put it in the front office," Warriors libero Cary Anne Bame said after going to ask athletic director Eddie Henderson.
One thing was clear — the Warriors weren't going to settle for this. Steinbrenner raised the Class 4A-9 trophy, posed for pictures, shared some hugs then turned the page on their district title and set their eyes on new sights.
"A region championship," Bame said. "Our first goal was district, then regions."
"We want to go all the way," junior middle hitter Kristen Liguori said. "As far as we can go. We all came from different schools, but we bonded together quickly."
The Warriors (22-4) earned a home date with Lakewood in the region quarterfinals Wednesday.
Still, it's all new for this senior-less group assembled from Sickles, Alonso and Gaither.
"They all knew each other but they hasn't played together," coach Staci Elias said. "You had to mesh the right personnel. We went through probably three or four rotations."
The Warriors found themselves Thursday night. Liguori led the way with seven kills, but middle hitter Megan Moyer and outside hitter Natalia Ortiz added five kills each.
"We didn't want to be one of those first-year schools that start off by losing," Bame said. "This is so great."