Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

6A volleyball: Plant handles Countryside

Countryside senior Davionna DiSalvatore (3) is met at the net by Plant’s Tina Catanach and Leah Jordan (16). The Panthers’ move to 6A this season has created a set of less familiar foes.


Countryside senior Davionna DiSalvatore (3) is met at the net by Plant’s Tina Catanach and Leah Jordan (16). The Panthers’ move to 6A this season has created a set of less familiar foes.

TAMPA — For Plant, the most difficult part of preparing for its march for a fourth consecutive state championship might be muddling through a batch of unfamiliar opponents.

The Panthers' past three titles came in Class 5A, so their move to 6A offers an entirely new group of teams. And for Panthers coach Leanna Taylor and her team, they honestly didn't know what to expect from Countryside in their region quarterfinal Wednesday.

"I see names I don't even know," Taylor said. "I have to go and do research and see what clubs they play for. Is the competition good? What does their record mean?"

The Cougars advanced to the 6A state tournament last year but lost four starters, including All-American Madison Truluck.

And even though the Cougars gave Plant some of its toughest competition this season, the Panthers easily advanced, 25-10, 25-12, 25-16, setting up a date with Palm Harbor University next week.

"The teams are different, but I think it's still the same mind-set," Plant senior libero Ali McCurdy said. "We still need to play our best and work our way through every match regardless of the team. If we play our game, we'll do well."

Senior outside hitter Maddie Martin led the Panthers with 19 kills, eight digs and five aces. Junior outside hitter Alex Johnson added 10 kills and nine digs while McCurdy led Plant (25-1) with 13 digs. Becca Howard tallied 40 assists.

"We were working for our points tonight," Martin said.

Countryside (23-4) was outsized and overmatched, even though the some of the Cougars knew Plant well. Seniors Davionna DiSalvatore and Nicole Dunn play club ball with Martin, McCurdy and three other Plant players.

"It's just the luck of the draw," Countryside coach Kaylyn Bayly said. "If we had won our district, we wouldn't have been in this situation anyway. We had to play great and they didn't have to play their best match. They have a great team.

"They don't have 50 million state titles for no reason."

Plant d>> Countryside

25-10, 25-12, 25-16

6A volleyball: Plant handles Countryside 11/04/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 4, 2009 10:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning: Jon Cooper takes unusual tact to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and ... whom else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  2. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  3. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans


    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.
  4. Fennelly: Would you take Jameis Winston over Cam Newton?


    Factoring out futures, it wouldn't be a short list if I picked NFL quarterbacks I'd take right now over Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) calls a play during the first half of Sunday's game. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: What went wrong on defense?


    Greg Auman is back from Buffalo, going back over a difficult finish and tough loss for the Bucs, in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Buffalo Bills tight end Logan Thomas (82) makes a touchdown catch over Bucs defensive back T.J. Ward (43) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]