Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Motivated, focused Plant rolls into state volleyball final four

VENICE — Plant volleyball coach Leanna Taylor said she has been thinking about playing Venice since February, because the Panthers knew their path to a third straight Class 5A title would likely have to go through the Indians.

"From Day 1, we were getting ready for this game," Plant outside hitter Maddie Martin said, "because if we didn't win against them, then we don't go to (the state final four in) Lakeland, so this was the deal-breaker. It was always Venice, Venice, Venice."

The Panthers entered Saturday's region final having been rarely challenged the past month — they dropped just one game in 11 matches. This time out, Plant beat the Indians in four games, 25-13, 23-35, 25-15, 25-15, advancing to Friday's state semifinals against Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas at 8 p.m.

"We've all worked hard for this," Plant senior hitter Danielle Erb said. "It's a privilege to go to states, and we're all ecstatic."

Plant (27-3) came into the match with heavy hearts. Many of the seniors were friends with Allyson Faulk, a Plant senior who died in a car crash Friday.

"We played for her," Erb said.

And the Panthers needed a balanced effort to beat Venice (22-9), which had dispatched its first two region opponents easily. The Indians were prepared for outside hitters Martin and Erb, but Plant middle hitters Jordan Dickie (10 kills) and Leah Jordan (12 kills) helped give the Panthers a complete attack.

Erb led the Panthers with 20 kills and three aces. Martin had 13 kills and four aces, while Ariel Ley had 11 kills and two aces.

"They came prepared for Maddie and I," Erb said, "but our middles, our right side, basically everyone, stepped their game up 10 notches. It was amazing."

After closing out the first game with an 11-4 run, Plant lost a 23-22 lead and Game 2. Plant jumped out to a 13-6 lead in winning Game 3, then it closed out Venice by scoring seven of the final nine points.

"For a rebuilding year, this team fought hard," said Venice coach Brian Wheatley, who did not start a senior. "We just came across a better team this year."

Plant d>> Venice
25-13, 23-25, 25-15, 25-15

Motivated, focused Plant rolls into state volleyball final four 11/15/08 [Last modified: Sunday, November 16, 2008 10:52am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. For starters: Rays lineup vs Orioles

    Blogs

     

  2. Alex Faedo, Florida advance to face LSU in College World Series finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — Alex Faedo pitched three-hit ball for 71/3 innings in a second straight strong performance against TCU, and Florida moved to the College World Series finals with a 3-0 win Saturday night.

    Florida’s Austin Langworthy scores on a single by Mike Rivera in the second inning during a 3-0 victory over TCU.
  3. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  4. Rays journal: Jumbo Diaz falters after getting within a strike of ending rally

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday's game got away starting with a leadoff walk in the seventh inning by Rays LHP Jose Alvarado, who was brought in exclusively to face Baltimore's lefty-swinging Seth Smith.

    Rays reliever Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Orioles score four during the seventh inning to give them a 7-3 lead. Diaz was one strike away from working out of the jam before he allowed a two-run double and a two-run homer on back-to-back pitches.
  5. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.