All games at 7 tonight
Venice (24-4) at Palm Harbor University (18-4): The Hurricanes have never advanced past this round in the playoffs. Last year it was Manatee that ended PHU’s season. The year before that it was Venice. The year before that it was Manatee. You get the point. If history is going to be made, the Hurricanes are going to have to keep playing the way they have been. They have won three straight in the playoffs, two over St. Petersburg and one against Durant. Junior Jessica Angelo is a top-notch player at the net, but Venice will likely key on her. Malia Barker, LuAnn Sondergrass, Katy Cameron and Jessa Mielke must also be good up front. Zeena Khazander will get plenty of work at libero. The winner plays either Tallahassee Leon or Bartram Trail in the state semifinal on Saturday.
Plant (19-5) at Oviedo Hagerty (20-2): The Panthers are trying to get back to the state tournament, but it won’t be easy. Hagerty has won 13 straight matches and has not dropped a set in six matches. Both losses were against Oviedo. Four players have more than 170 kills: Leandra Mangual, Morgan Romano, Audrey Douglas and Sydney Conley. Douglas also has 79 blocks. Plant junior Camryn Vogler is the top threat at the net. Birdie Frierson and Elizabeth Price have also been good. Setters Sarah Moffit and Molly Flemming have helped the offense click. The winner plays either Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas or Miami Reagan next.
Mitchell (22-8) at New Smyrna Beach (26-2): This is where it all ended for the Mustangs last season, in a Barracudas sweep. The Mustangs have some quality wins leading up to the region final, including a 3-0 win over Fivay. Junior Kennedy Deluca and senior Jessie Mooney have been the top offensive threats. Deluca also has 88 blocks. The Barracudas are led by senior Sarah Luoma, who has 271 kills. The winner plays Jensen Beach or St. Brendan next.
Tarpon Springs (22-7) at Robinson (24-7): This could be the most tightly contested match of the night. Tarpon Springs is coming off an impressive three-set win over Naples Lely, which it lost to last season. Juniors Mackenzie Dufresne and Anya Reinhard have been tough to deal with up front. Junior Elly Collins has led the defense at libero. The Spongers have swept all four playoff matches. Robinson lost four straight at the Swing for the Cure tournament in mid-October, but since has won five straight without losing a set. Freshman Mila Yarich has been a welcome addition with 203 kills. The winner plays Panama City Mosely or Bishop Kenny next.
Fivay (24-3) at Ponte Vedra (22-5): The Falcons are one of the hottest teams in the area and have an 18-match win streak. Senior Kirbea Harrell has been outstanding with 347 kills. Junior Torrie Berryhill and senior Lindsey Christianson have also been good at the net. The Sharks are no slouch either. Juniors Gabby Keller and Paige Johnson each have more than 190 kills. Junior Jordan Gregg has 64 blocks. This one also has the look of a five-set match. The winner plays Orlando Bishop Moore and Fort Lauderdale Archbishop McCarthy on Saturday.
West Palm Beach King’s Academy (25-0) at Berkeley Prep (27-2): The Lions played a mostly south Florida schedule with a few challenges. But for the most part they have swept through opponents. Senior Madeline Furtado is clearly the player to watch. She has 500 kills. The Bucs haven’t been too shabby either. Amanda Phegley has 218 kills and 78 blocks. Jenna Hampton has 194 kills. The winner plays South Walton or Jacksonville Episcopal School next.