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)

PHU, Kuk earn first PCAC title


Times Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — Palm Harbor University coach Tara Kuk waited seven years to lead the Hurricanes' volleyball team to the PCAC championship game.

Once there, Kuk and the Hurricanes were not going to be denied.

Behind a solid, all-around effort from their starting rotation and a number of reserves, the Hurricanes rolled to a 25-20, 25-16, 25-22 victory against a game Lakewood squad to win their first PCAC title.

"Ever since I got to Palm Harbor, it's been a goal to come to (the PCAC championship)," Kuk said. "Obviously, when you get here it's important to win. We're really excited we got the chance to play and win."

PHU (20-3) came into the contest heavily favored, especially considering the Hurricanes were clicking on all cylinders after sweeping county heavyweights Clearwater and Clearwater Central Catholic earlier in the week. Lakewood, though, didn't back down from the challenge. The Spartans scratched and clawed and kept the Hurricanes in their sights for much of the match.

At 17-all in Game 1, PHU won the next six points to pull away. In Game 2, the Hurricanes broke out to an 8-0 lead and were ahead 18-4. Lakewood rallied but not soon enough to prevent PHU from grabbing a 2-0 advantage.

In Game 3, the Hurricanes again led early, but Lakewood wouldn't go away quietly. Berkley Whaley served three straight aces to pull Lakewood to within 22-19. PHU, however, made crucial plays down the stretch.

"When we needed to finish a game, we came out and finished, which was big for us," PHU senior Cassie Roy said. "When we got to about point 18 or 20, we made sure to not let them get a run."

PHU's strategy was to limit Whaley, who can take over a match. The Hurricanes focused on serving aggressively to keep Whaley from receiving a good set and playing the ball away from the talented sophomore.

"Our girls did a good job at the net, too," Kuk said. "She had her booms, but there were a lot of them we stopped. Logan Miller blocked a few balls. She was a little nervous but did a good job. And Leah (McNary) made some blocks, which she does every match for us."

PHU, Kuk earn first PCAC title 10/22/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 22, 2009 11:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs Roberto Aguayo kicks off 2017 on the wrong foot


    The goal posts still seem to be moving for Roberto Aguayo.

    The Bucs woebegone place-kicker, who is in a battle with veteran Nick Folk, went 1-for-4 in field goal tries from 35-40 yards Tuesday on a set of narrow uprights, the first day of full squad Organized Team Activities.

    If that weren’t …

  2. Rays morning after: Are cold bats a sign of things to come?


    How does an offense that has ranked among the most productive in the league for seven weeks go so cold?

  3. Calvary Christian takes strong lineup, defense to state baseball tournament


    CLEARWATER — No matter what happens in Friday's Class 4A state semifinal against Delray Beach American Heritage, Calvary Christian has already had a historic season. The unbeaten Warriors have won 28 games and qualified for the school's first state baseball tournament.

    The addition of Nolan Hudi to the rotation made a difference, said Calvary Christian coach Greg Olsen. “It was huge.”
  4. Former Buc Mike Glennon says right things about Bears QB situation


    Mike Glennon's go-to line about being recognized around town since becoming a Bear worked as well as ever, producing laughs.

    Quarterback Mike Glennon, shown last season with the Bucs before signing in the offseason with the Bears, is showing good humor about a looming competition in Chicago. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]