BRANDON — For one game, Ridgewood blocked.
The Rams passed, hit and won.
For the next three games, they didn't.
Once Ridgewood's defense faltered, Brandon started hitting the ball — hard, down the lines, through the middle — and never stopped in picking up a 21-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-21 victory Wednesday in a Class 5A region quarterfinal.
It was a familiar finish against a Pasco County team for Brandon. Last year, the Eagles (24-1) dropped the first game of their first two playoff matches against Land O'Lakes and River Ridge before rallying to win.
"I don't understand how they come out here with the deer-in-the-headlights look again,'' Brandon coach Amy Watson said. "I was sitting on the bench saying, 'are you kidding me?' "
The Rams (14-10) took advantage of Brandon's slow start and a nice 8-0 run to pull away to a 16-11 lead in the opening game.
Once Brandon pulled within 19-18, Rams Lauren Vanker and Brittany Martin notched kills to cap a four-point run to set up the game victory.
The Eagles won Games 2 and 3 handily, opening 10-3 and 12-4 leads, respectively, behind the net play of Audra Geniesse, Lindsey Watson and Aly Woodlee.
In the final game, Ridgewood led 21-19 before the Eagles rolled off the final six points, capitalizing on a slew of Ram errors.
The Rams had only five blocks for the match.
"That really prevented us from getting into our attack,'' coach Amber Starkey said. "I think they mixed some things up after that first game and the timing was off for our blockers and we were never able to recover.''