TAMPA — Bayshore Christian volleyball coach Melanie Humenansky likes to say her team plays two seasons. And with its Bayshore Christian Invitational tournament being the unofficial start to that second season, Humenansky's squad wasn't exactly at its best.
So even though Bayshore Christian took an early lead and won the opening game of the title match Saturday, Gainesville St. Francis defeated the Faith Warriors 2-1 (19-25, 25-21, 15-9) to win the tournament championship.
"A lot of things pulled us out of this game," Humenansky said. "But we can't take anything away from them (St. Francis). They are a good team."
Good enough to rebound from the opening game where the Faith Warriors jumped out to a 4-1 lead and built on it throughout the game, en route to a six-point win.
Game 2 seemed to be headed the same way as Bayshore Christian pulled ahead 4-1.
But the Wolves began to find holes in the Bayshore Christian defense and eventually went ahead 6-5. From that point, Bayshore Christian had its share of mental lapses that led to errors and quick points for the Wolves.
"Our blocking is one of the strongest parts of our defense," Humenansky said. "We were covering them (St. Francis) fine in the first game, but we got away from that in the other games."
The Wolves thwarted Bayshore's comeback attempts in Game 2, then put together a 4-2 run early in the tiebreaker to win the match. The loss dropped Bayshore Christian, the defending Class 1A champion, to 10-6.
The Faith Warriors beat Tampa Catholic and Ocala St. John's Lutheran in the earlier rounds. Sophomore outside hitter Gabby Fernandez led the Faith Warriors with 15 kills and two blocks, and setter Amanda Mirabella had 23 assists.
Bloomingdale finished seventh in the tournament, while Tampa Catholic topped Durant in the fifth-place match.
"Our competition from here on out gets more difficult," Humenansky said. "We've got two seasons, and this tournament prepares us for the one that counts."