Class 6A, Orlando Dr. Phillips (25-3) at Countryside (28-0): Countryside committed several uncharacteristic errors in a five-game defeat of Lakeland on Tuesday, but the Cougars found a way to prevail, even after digging themselves a 7-2 hole in Game 5. Saturday's region final should be just as intense. "I'm thinking in my mind it's going to be a very similar match to the Lakeland match," coach Kaylyn Bayly said. Countryside and Dr. Phillips defeated Lakeland this season in five games. Countryside fared better against another common opponent (Winter Park). The Cougars defeated the Wildcats in two games; Dr. Phillips lost in four. Countryside is attempting to reach its first state final four since 2000 and second overall.
Class 2A, Tampa Prep (14-13) at Northside Christian (23-6): Don't let Tampa Prep's mediocre record fool you: there weren't a lot of cupcakes on the Terrapins' schedule. Tampa Prep played state powers Berkeley Prep (twice), Buchholz, Plant and Venice (three times), so the Terrapins should be ready to face another quality opponent in Northside. Plus, the Terrapins have experience on their side after advancing to the region final last year. Northside, on the other hand, hasn't advanced this far since 2002. How the Mustangs respond early in the match with so much on the line will be crucial. Northside weathered Fort Myers Canterbury and its crowd in a solid showing Tuesday, but Mustangs coach Holly Filer is looking for a complete effort Saturday. "We had a couple girls that didn't play their best match (at Canterbury) but were still able to contribute and do well," Filer said. "It'll be nice to see everybody playing volleyball well on the same night."
Bryan Burns, Times staff writer