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)

Pieces in place for CCC's success at state

Welcome to this year's Class 3A state volleyball tournament, same as last year's tournament. Clearwater Central Catholic will play Orlando First Academy in one semifinal, while Miami Westminster Christian plays Gainesville St. Francis in the other.

It is the same four schools that played in last year's semifinal. First Academy won its fifth straight championship while the Marauders were eliminated in the semifinals by St. Francis.

While CCC lost key players from last year's team, this year's version is just as good. A 25-5 regular season, coupled with plenty of experienced returners, has the Marauders believing they can win the school's first state title since 1985.

"I'm really excited about the opportunity," junior outside hitter Shea Hamilton said. "We're hoping to do better than we did last year. It's not easy to get there."

Hamilton was a major contributor last season and has played even better this year. She averages 3.3 kills per game and has a team-high 262 kills. Hamilton also has 3.7 digs per game, second only to libero Majo Amundaray.

Joining Hamilton is middle hitter Katie Moore. At 6-foot-3, Moore is a blocking and spiking threat who averages three kills and one block per game. She leads the team with 99 overall blocks.

While those two get much of the attention, there are plenty of other experienced players at coach Stephen Shepherd's disposal.

Junior outside hitter Rachel Odell, junior hitter Sara Brown and senior hitter Jenna Dykstra, a Countryside transfer, have at least 150 kills for the season. Senior Megan Kovach (400 assists) and junior Ashley Albers (426 assists) have been setting up their talented teammates all season.

The result has been a team that swings hard and hopes for the best.

"I trust all those kids," Shepherd said. "With the schedule we've played, the competition, I know they are ready. I have total confidence in them. We're going to play to win. I hate the mentality of playing it safe and hope they make some errors."

CCC has not played First Academy this season. The Royals (19-9) are coming off a five-game win over Tampa Prep in the region final. Playing against a state-ranked team and a defending champion is not surprising to Shepherd.

"If you look at our classification, the top four teams in our class are ranked in the top eight teams in the state," he said. "We knew that once we got to a regional final or beyond it was going to be tough. We just have to find a way to string three quality matches together.

"From here on out, there's no such thing as easy. But you kind of want to earn it."

. Up next

State semifinals

At Silver Spurs Arena, Kissimmee

Class 3A: Orlando First Academy vs. Clearwater Central Catholic, 11 a.m. today

Pieces in place for CCC's success at state 11/11/13 [Last modified: Monday, November 11, 2013 11:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. For starters: Souza returns to lineup

    Blogs

     

  2. Ronde Barber: Want intimidation? Look at past Bucs teams

    Bucs

    Ronde Barber says these days "it's hard to find throwbacks, where you go, 'That guy is a badass.' Where do you find that now? It's such a show-off sport." (Times 2012)
  3. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  4. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. gets extra day off to let hip heal

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RF Steven Souza Jr. ran in rightfield before batting practice under the watchful gaze of the Rays training staff and manager Kevin Cash. Afterward, Souza told Cash he could use one more day of rest before playing on the left hip he strained Wednesday in Oakland.

    Steven Souza Jr., hugging Mallex Smith after Smith’s solo home run in the eighth inning, feels relief after tests are negative on his injured hip.